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Middle East cautiously welcomes Iran nuclear deal - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Saudi Vice Foreign Minister Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, right, talks to an aide during an Asia Cooperation Dialogue ministerial meeting in Manama, Bahrain,  on Monday November 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Saudi Vice Foreign Minister Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, right, talks to an aide during an Asia Cooperation Dialogue ministerial meeting in Manama, Bahrain, on November 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Middle East has cautiously welcomed the nuclear agreement signed in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 on Sunday. The historic deal limits Tehran’s nuclear program and eases the tough international sanctions that have long been imposed on the country.

Saudi Arabia has said that it views the Geneva agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of world states as a “primary step” towards a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

The statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency on Monday said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia views the agreement as a primary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear program so far as good intentions are provided and as long as it leads to a Middle East and Gulf region free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.”

It added that Riyadh “hopes that this step will be followed by more important steps leading to guaranteeing the right for all countries in the region to peacefully use nuclear energy.”

The statement was issued following a Cabinet session held at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday afternoon chaired by Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense.

For its part, Qatar described the nuclear agreement as “an important step towards safeguarding peace and stability in the region,” in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.

“The State of Qatar calls for making the Middle East a nuclear weapons-free zone,” the statement added.

Kuwait announced that it “welcomes” the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva. Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah told state news agency KUNA that he hopes the agreement “would pave the way for a permanent accord that would defuse tension and preserve the stability and security of the region.”

Bahrain also welcomed the Geneva deal on Sunday. The Bahraini Foreign Ministry said: “The agreement is in line with the positions of the Kingdom of Bahrain and its steady policy that diplomatic solutions are the right way to ensure stability, achieve international peace and security and make the Middle East a zone free of nuclear weapons.”

The statement emphasized that the Geneva agreement “complies with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the objectives and principles enshrined in international conventions and the resolutions of the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.”

The UAE also welcomed the deal, according to state news agency WAM. “The cabinet hopes this would represent a step towards a permanent agreement that preserves the stability of the region and shield it from tension and the danger of nuclear proliferation,” reported WAM.

Syria, which enjoys longstanding ties with Tehran, immediately welcomed the deal. Syrian state news agency, SANA, quoted an unnamed foreign ministry official who hailed the deal as a “historic agreement.”

The Foreign Ministry official added that “Syria believes that reaching such an agreement is evidence that political solutions to the crises of the region are the best means to ensure the security and stability of the region, away from foreign intervention and threats of using force,” in an implicit reference to the Syrian crisis.

“Syria congratulates the brotherly Iranian people and their wise leadership on this historic achievement which reiterates Iran’s role in the stability and security of the region,” the Syrian official concluded.

For his part, Lebanon’s caretaker foreign minister, Adnan Mansour, also celebrated the “positive” historic nuclear agreement. “This agreement dispelled the tense relations between Iran and the West. It represents a step forward in making the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction,” Mansour said.

However, the caretaker foreign minister criticized Tel Aviv’s stance on the deal, saying: “Israel is rejecting the US-Iranian nuclear deal because it wants to create a scarecrow out of the Iranian nuclear program.”

Israel has reacted angrily to the deal, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling his cabinet that the world has become a “more dangerous place” following the Geneva agreement. “What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake,” he said.

On Monday, Netanyahu announced that he will send a team to Washington, led by national security adviser Yossi Cohen, “to discuss with the United States the permanent accord with Iran,” in a statement made before members of his right-wing Likud party.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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