Does Kerry’s Saudi visit mean a nuclear deal is looming?

Kerry-Saudi-FM
Kerry-Saudi-FM

Arman-e Emrooz says Secretary Kerry’s trip to Riyadh could be both positive – a sign of Saudi approval of a final deal – or negative – a sign that Riyadh’s might seek to derail the talks.

US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to explain a potential deal on Iran’s nuclear program to the conservative US ally that has expressed concerns about the terms of a deal.

Arman-e Emrooz daily on March 7 published an opinion piece by Reza Raeesi on Secretary Kerry’s Saudi visit, Riyadh’s tentative agreement to a possible nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1 and whether such a trip could produce positive or negative results. The following is a partial translation of the piece:

[…]

The visit of Secretary Kerry to Saudi Arabia immediately after intense, face-to-face talks with his Iranian counterpart in Switzerland could be studied from different angles.

On the one hand, his flight – with no delay – to Riyadh could be a sign that the progress made in the Swiss city of Montreux has been so remarkable that the American negotiator has headed to the Persian Gulf kingdom to consult with Saudi officials and win them over on a nuclear deal with Iran.

Kerry also seems to want to give reassurances to Saudi Arabia that a final nuclear deal with Iran will not pose any threat to the monarchy.

Kerry in Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, raises concerns that nuclear talks could once again face a new challenge in the buildup to the conclusion of a final deal thanks to obstructionism by Saudi Arabia. If so, like what happened in Vienna, this will derail efforts [made so far].

Whether the trip is viewed as a promising sign or an alarming concern, two issues could not be overlooked. First, conclusion of a nuclear accord is around the corner. Second, Saudi Arabia – a regional heavyweight and a strategic US ally – cannot be removed from regional equations and from efforts to have a nuclear deal inked.

[…]

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