Obama, Saudi King to Discuss Iran During Their Meeting: White House

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama and Saudi King Salman would discuss the landmark Iranian nuclear deal, dangerous growth of the ISIS and situation in the Middle East when they meet tomorrow, the White House has said.

This would be the first trip of the Saudi King to the US after taking over power in January and will be his second meeting with Obama.

The first was in January when Obama flew to Riyadh from New Delhi to meet him to condole the death of his predecessor King Abdullah.

“This is an important visit at an important time with the many developments in the region where we have a shared interest with Saudi Arabia and with the recent conclusion of

the Iran deal, and the follow up on the Camp David summit with Saudi Arabia and our other Gulf partners,” Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor, told reporters yesterday.

“This visit will be an opportunity for the President to follow up on the progress we’re making on the Camp David agenda, to discuss the Iran deal, and also our efforts to push

back against malign Iranian activities in the region, but also, of course, to discuss a full range of regional issues,” Rhodes said.

Jeff Prescott, senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council, said that Obama and Salman are likely to talk about the Iranian nuclear deal.

“We’ve obviously been consulting closely with our partners in Saudi Arabia throughout this process and have appreciated their expressions of support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and our effort to address Iran’s nuclear program,” Jeff said.

“The two leaders will discuss ways to continue to promote security in the region, including by coordinating more closely to address Iran’s destabilising activities in the region,” he added.

Responding to a question, Rhodes said that Saudi Arabia has concerns about Iran’s behaviour in the region.

“We understand that they have concerns about what Iran could do as their economy may perhaps improve along with sanctions relief. We also acknowledge the fact that we need to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to counter Iran’s destabilising activities in the region,” Rhodes added.

“There’s always a risk that Iran could spend funds on those nefarious activities,” he said.

Rhodes said Saudi Arabia has significant relationships in Iraq that can be utilised to support the ongoing effort against ISIS.