Unlike the foreign press, left out of most U.S. media reports about the JCPOA when it was announced in 2015 was that Saudi Arabia objected to the deal as vehemently as Israel. Although eventually the kingdom publicly supported the deal, the Saudis still found ways to express their anger. After President Trump’s Iran speech Friday, Saudi Arabia was as effusive in its praise as the Jewish State, but again the press ignored the story, perhaps because it doesn’t fit their narrative about the Iran deal or Israel.
After the JCPOA agreement was announced in 2015, a Pakistani news magazine reported
a Saudi official said Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers on Tuesday will make the Middle East a “more dangerous part of the world” if it comes with too many concessions, signalling Gulf Arabs’ deep unease at the agreement.
The lack of official responses from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies reflected huge nervousness about a deal set to end the pariah status of Iran, already Riyadh’s main rival for influence across the Middle East, and unchain its economy from crippling sanctions.One Saudi diplomat described the agreement as “extremely dangerous” and said it would give a green light to his own government to start a nuclear energy programme.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan told Lebanon’s Daily Star the deal would allow Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb and would “wreak havoc in the region.” Covered in The Times of London, the prince also told Daily Star, “Saudi Arabia and the Gulf powers are prepared to take military action without American support after the Iran nuclear deal”
The prince was less polite in an op-ed he wrote for the London-based Arabic news Web site Elaph. He compared the Iran nuclear deal made by Obama to the North Korean nuclear deal Bill Clinton made. Bandar suggested that they were both bad deals but Clinton made a bad deal with the best of intentions thinking it was a good deal. Obama, on the other hand, knew he was making a lousy deal and made it anyway. Bandar said Obama is smart enough to understand that it’s a bad deal but that he is ideologically willing to accept collateral damage because he believes he is right.
Perhaps the most public display of the Saudi Anger over the deal was when President Obama went to Saudi Arabia in 2016, he wasn’t greeted by the king at the airport, instead, the King sent a clear message of anger to the President by greeting him with a small, low-level delegation to greet the President, and unlike they have done with every other leader (including previous Obama visit) Obama’s arrival was not televised on state-run TV.