Israel and Saudi Arabia present united front

JERUSALEM: The nuclear deal with Iran caused fury in Israel and consternation around the region at the likely increase in influence and resources of a newly enriched Iran.

Israel and the many Arab regimes have set aside old grievances to stand together against the West’s engagement with Iran.

The more strident denunciations came from Israel, which regards Iran as a direct threat. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, said the country would not be bound by what he called a “stunning historic mistake”.

“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran,” he said in a televised address hours after the conclusion of the accord. “Iran continues to seek our destruction and we will defend ourselves.”

Mr Netanyahu, who had condemned the deal even before it had been announced, said its terms failed to achieve the goal of denying Iran the capacity to build a nuclear bomb while, by lifting sanctions, enabled its rulers to increase their support for groups Israel considers terrorists.

“The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly as Iran’s President Rouhani said today – the international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear programme,” he said.

In Saudi Arabia officials voiced fears that increasing rapprochement between Washington and Tehran could eventually lead to Iran supplanting Saudi Arabia as America’s main ally in the Persian Gulf.

One prominent Saudi cleric, Salman al-Ouda warned in a tweet that “Iran is moving according to a well-studied clear vision, absorbing its adversaries. Where are the Arab governments? Where is their alternative project to face the challenge?”

Some Western supporters of the deal hope that having been brought “into the circle of nations” Iran will become what they call a “constructive player” in Middle East regional negotiations.

Iran spends roughly $6-35 billion annually to help Damascus, its strategic link to Lebanon where its ally Hezbollah is pitted against Israel.

“Iran must show that it is ready to help us on Syria to end this conflict,” Francois Hollande of France said.  –Daily Telegraph

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