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King Salman welcomes Trump's firm approach to Iran

October 15, 2017

King Salman of Saudi Arabia, in a telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump on Saturday, welcomed the US government’s firm strategy towards Iran, reported Arab News on Sunday.

According to the Saudi daily, King Salman supported the strategy announced by Trump on Friday in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its alleged support for extremist groups in the Middle East.

The king praised the Trump administration for "recognising the magnitude of these challenges and threats, and the need for concerted efforts on terrorism and extremism and its primary sponsor, Iran," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Editorial: Undoing the Iran deal

In his speech on Friday, Trump accused Tehran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement and said his goal was to ensure the country never obtained a nuclear weapon.

“We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” the president had said.

Trump’s hardline remarks drew praise from Israel, but was criticised by European allies.

His Iran strategy angered Tehran and put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord; Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union, some of which have benefited economically on renewed trade with Iran.

Responding to Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran was committed to the deal and accused Trump of making baseless accusations.

Read: Iranians mock 'ridiculous' Trump speech

European allies have warned of a split with the United States over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo as Trump has done undermines US credibility abroad, especially as international inspectors say Iran is in compliance with the accord.

While Donald Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, he gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact.

If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the United States would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place.

'An embarrassment'

Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States signed the 2015 deal with Iran in a bid to prevent it developing a nuclear weapons capability.

Tehran agreed to surrender most of its enriched uranium and accept limits to its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

The previous US administration accepted that the deal was limited to the nuclear issue, and hailed it as a victory for Barack Obama's non-proliferation agenda.

But Trump has denounced the agreement as an “embarrassment” to the United States and has accused Iran of breaking it in “spirit” by arming militant groups and destabilizing the Middle East.

In particular, he has objected to the “sunset clause” that would see Iran resume some enrichment from 2025.