White House says Saudi FM welcomes Iran nuclear deal

Statement comes after US president and Saudi foreign minister hold talks in Washington at request of Saudi King Salman.

GCC leaders
Saudi Arabia is among several Gulf nations wary of the nuclear accord the US and other world powers signed with Iran [AP]

US President Barack Obama and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir have welcomed the nuclear agreement with Iran during talks in Washington, the president’s office has said.

In a statement on Friday, the White House said the two men also discussed efforts currently underway to “further enhance the close and longstanding partnership between our two countries” and to increase Saudi security.

The statement said the meeting occurred at the request of Saudi King Salman, who spoke with Obama by phone earlier in the week.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from the White House, said US-ally Saudi Arabia wanted to get “reassurance” from Obama that the Iran deal would not pose a threat to its security.

Culhane said that among the issues Saudi Arabia wanted to discuss was the possibility of the US helping to build a “joint defence missile shield” protecting it and other Gulf countries.  

“They are also talking about specialised military training for their special forces,” she said. 

Saudi Arabia is among several Gulf nations wary of the nuclear accord.

The White House said the meeting between Obama and Jubeir focused on enhancing regional security.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter is expected to continue those conversations when he visits Saudi Arabia next week. US Secretary of State John Kerry is also expected to travel to the region soon.  

The White House said Obama and Jubeir also discussed the crises in Yemen and Syria.

In the first public comments on the Iran agreement by a senior Saudi official, Jubeir did not explicitly endorse or reject the deal at a meeting with Kerry on Thursday.

He stressed the need for inspections to verify Iran is complying and the “snapback” of sanctions if it is found not to be.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies