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Middle East

Saudi Arabia welcomes Iran nuclear agreement

Kingdom says deal could be a preliminary step towards comprehensive solution to remove WMD from the Middle East.

Last updated: 25 Nov 2013 21:56
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Relations have been tense between the US and Saudi in recent months [Reuters]

Saudi Arabia has said an interim deal on Iran's nuclear programme could be a step towards a comprehensive solution - and hoped it could lead to the removal of WMD from the Middle East.

"The government of the kingdom sees that if there was goodwill, this agreement could represent a preliminary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear programme," the cabinet said in a statement.

The government of the kingdom sees that if there was goodwill, this agreement could represent a preliminary step towards a comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear programme.

Saudi Arabia's cabinet,

It said the deal could eventually lead "to the removal of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, from the Middle East and the Arab Gulf region".

The statement appeared to be a refence to Israel, which is the only country in the region to have a nuclear arsenal, although it has never admitted its existence.

Sunday's agreement, reached after marathon talks in Geneva, was condemned by Israel as a "historic mistake" that left the production of atomic weapons within Tehran's reach. Israel said it would not be bound by it. 

Strained relations

The kingdom said it hoped that this agreement would be followed by further steps that would guarantee the rights of all states in the region to peaceful nuclear energy.

Several countries in the region have notified the UN they intend to begin their own civilian nuclear energy programmes under the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Saudi statement is the first on the Iran agreement, an issue has strained relations between the kingdom and the US in recent months.

Meanwhile, the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, said that thew EU would begin lifting sanctions by December, as per the interim agreement.

Iran agreed to suspend enrichment work, relinquish its stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium, and stop construction of a heavy water reactor which could produce plutonium. In return, world powers will lift a number of sanctions to aid Iran's crippled economy.

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that he was sending its national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, to Washington for talks on the agreement.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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