John Kerry the United States Secretary of State will visit Riyadh this week to give reassurances to King Salman that any deal regarding the nuclear program with Iran is in the best interest of Saudi Arabia, despite the fears the country has, it could boost its rival’s support for interests for Shiite Muslims in the area.
Convincing Riyadh to accept any nuclear deal with Iran is important for President Barack Obama since he needs the Saudi government to work with Washington closely on a number of policies in the region and to maintain the same role it has had of moderating influence where oil is concerned.
The biggest critics of the push by the U.S. for a nuclear agreement are congressional Republicans and Israel. However, Saudi Arabia has become skeptical as well that any type of agreement would allow Iran to devote additional cash and energy to different Shiite proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, which would escalate conflicts.
One Gulf diplomat said that Saudi Arabia fears that Obama will be giving Iran a deal at whatever the cost just because it will help his legacy and Iran will get certain regional status for the agreement, in exchange.
Kerry had a meeting with Mohammad Zarif the Foreign Minister of Iran in Switzerland Monday at the start of three days of nuclear negotiations in an attempt to meet a deadline that is self imposed to reach an agreement before March ends.
Kerry is to brief the new king of Saudi Arabia on his talks with the Iranian foreign minister and meet other senior officials from the Gulf later this week, as he attempts to convince all of them that a solution using diplomacy for the long festering problem over the atomic program in Iran is in the best interest of all.
The anxiety that Saudi has is about an agreement that helped fuel a flurry of new diplomacy recently to increase unity amongst Sunni states across the Middle East due to the shared threats including Iran, say analysts.