President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

The Saudi government is unanimous in its support of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. From Riyadh’s perspective, the feeling always was that the nuclear deal failed to account for Iran’s regional power projection in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran is working to directly undermine Saudi Arabia’s security in Yemen through Hezbollah, which is working with Houthi rebels to develop a Hezbollah-like capacity on the Kingdom’s southern border. Post-JCPOA, the most important policy decision is for the US to reimpose sanctions in order to force the Iranian regime to change its behavior, withdraw from all of the countries, and focus on internal development. Over the last few months, the Iranian people have been taking to the streets to protest their government’s material support for the Assad regime and foreign proxies while Iran is in economic distress. There were two flaws with the JCPOA. The first flaw was that the agreement allowed Iran to restart nuclear activities after a finite period of time. The second flaw was that the agreement did not address Iran’s regional behavior. In an interview with CNN, the Saudi foreign minister said that the Kingdom would have to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran acquires nuclear weapons. This is not something the Kingdom wants; but for one side to have nuclear weapons while the other does not is a worse outcome than both having nuclear weapons.

 

Listen to the full interview here.