Saudi’s Alwaleed slams Obama over Iran deal

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Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the Saudi Arabian billionaire investor who owns stakes in Apple and Twitter, has hit out at Barack Obama’s willingness to accept a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, labelling the US president as being “in a rush” and “wounded”.

Speaking to Bloomberg prior to Sunday morning’s announcement that the Islamic Republic had come to an agreement with six world powers following talks in Geneva, Alwaleed argued that the US should have kept up economic sanctions, rather than move towards any relief.

“There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” Alwaleed told the US news service. “We’re really concerned – Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries, about this.”

Alwaleed, who took the unusual step of referring to Israel as part of a collective alongside Arab countries, suggested that Obama had encouraged a deal in a bid to bolster his reputation domestically.  “Obama is in so much of a rush to have a deal with Iran,” he continued. “He wants anything. He’s so wounded. It’s very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two months they’re going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That’s scary for him.”

Aimed at ending the standoff over Iran’s disputed uranium enrichment programme, the deal between Iran and the US, France, Germany, the UK, China and Russia was struck after four days of negotiations.

The talks were held in the hope of easing decades’ worth of tensions that have heated up in the years since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. In return for suspending some of its most sensitive nuclear work, Iran will receive some relief from US-imposed sanctions and access to billions of foreign exchange.

Earlier this month a BBC investigation claimed that Saudi had reached a pact with Pakistan for the procurement of its own nuclear warheads if Iran was successful in weaponising its own programme.

Ruling authorities in Saudi Arabia have watched in disbelief as relations between the US and Iran have thawed considerably since new president Hassan Rouhani came into the power this year.

Prince Bandar  bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, has even gone so far as to publicly state that the kingdom could make a “major shift” away from the US in protest over America’s overtures towards Iran and its 11th hour decision not to bomb Syria.

Sunni Muslim-majority Saudi and predominantly Shi’a Iran, the two dominant regional powers, have a long-held animosity, in which the ongoing Syrian civil war has become a proxy. Saudi and other Gulf states have pushed for the removal of Bashar Al Assad, while Iran is a staunch supporter of the embattled president, whose Alawite sect is as an off-shoot of Shi’a Islam.

Alwaleed, whose public statements are often interpreted as a barometer for the thoughts of Saudi’s rulers, was not the only one displeased at the outcome of the Geneva talks. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the deal, describing it as an “unbelievable Christmas present” for Iran.

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Posted by: Aryabhata

With less dependence on foreign oil, as Amar mentioned, (and as I also mentioned but was edited out by AB), it doesn't require the Middle East to actually run out (since there stock reserves kept them happy and spending wildly with no regard for the future knowing they had decades left) to leave them less relevant (there is that word again). Amar also made an excellent point that the US and Europe are rewriting their future and they don't require the "permission" of the Middle East to move forward in a direction that suits their own purposes. I think its a good move and still believe that if any nations of the GCC have an issue, sort it out yourselves and stop waiting for superpowers to take your side. The UAE are a good example of finding other, smart, ways to source their income. Innovate. KSA's et al's oil exports gave that sense of need and power. That is now gone. Although they may need your oil, they certainly don't need as much and I see Russia stepping in to fill that need

Posted by: Aryabhata

I guess when your incredibly rich, your opinion is always correct.

Look, until KSA or any of the aforementioned Middle East nations lift a finger to do something about it (or anything), stop assuming that the U.S. and Britain are going to fight your battles for you.
If Saudi or Kuwait or Qatar has a bone to pick, assemble an army and do something and stop being the nation-version of that family that gets carried around a mall on a motorised cart.
Stop expecting other nations to do your bidding. Want everything but assume that world powers will bend knee because you will get offended, otherwise. Let the U.S. look after its own interests.

Posted by: Relevant

Dear KSA, welcome to being irrelevant.

Posted by: SA1

This land is a relevant long before many countries has even been founded. And there was no oil then...so stop being cynical.

Posted by: Ava

This reminds me of British judge describing his evidence as confusing, unreliable, hopeless and pathetic!

Posted by: Amir

The dynamics of the Middle East politics and the alliances are changing rapidly. U.S. is now less dependent on Saudi oil and frankly the entire west is not happy about the associations Saudis have forged with extremists to further expand their influence in the region. U.S. and Europe are rewriting their long term plans and their interests are changing. At the same time, any agreement reducing tensions in the Middle East and replacing the prospects of yet another war in this region with peace should be considered as positive. Extremism should be condemned at all fronts. As all the negotiating parties have repeated said, this is only the first step and a lot more has to be done in order to come up with a comprehensive agreement pleasing everyone. Let's hope for the best and let's give peace a chance.

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