'Maximum pressure' only way to get Iran to talk: Saudi minister

Policy of appeasement will not work with Iran, says Saudi minister of state, dismissing option of US lifting sanctions.

    Saudi Arabia's Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir was in Paris for talks with French officials [Mohamed Abd el-Ghany/Reuters]
    Saudi Arabia's Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir was in Paris for talks with French officials [Mohamed Abd el-Ghany/Reuters]

    A policy of appeasement will not work with Iran and the only way to get Tehran to the negotiating table is to apply maximum pressure, a senior Saudi official said.

    Saudi Arabia's Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir was in Paris for talks with French officials amid efforts to defuse US-Iranian tensions and help Yemen's Saudi-backed government and southern separatists end a power struggle in the southern port of Aden.

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    "We think that appeasement doesn't work. Actions count, not words. Members of the Iranian government talk, but have no power. Those who have, like the Revolutionary Guard, don't want to negotiate," al-Jubeir told the Liberation newspaper in an interview on Thursday.

    He was responding to a question about French attempts to bring the United States and Iran together, including by convincing US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Iran.

    Failed efforts

    French President Emmanuel Macron attempted and failed last month to broker talks between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York City at the UN General Assembly.

    Prospects of any talks in the coming weeks seem slim, with Tehran demanding US sanctions be lifted first.

    "As far as we're concerned, maximum pressure is the only way," al-Jubeir said.

    When asked about the status of talks between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and southern separatists, al-Jubeir said it was crucial to end their differences to ensure focus could turn to battling the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and al-Qaeda armed group.

    "We are trying to reach peace between the [separatist] Southern Transition Council and the [President Abd-Rabbu MansourHadi government. I think we are close," he said.

    Saudi Arabia has hosted indirect talks between them to rebuild the coalition fighting against the Houthis who expelled Hadi's government from the capital Sanaa five years ago.

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    SOURCE: News agencies