Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US President Donald Trump for lunch in Washington DC yesterday.
A senior US administration official said the two leaders discussed Trump’s imminent decision on whether or not to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Qatar and the civil war in Yemen. The deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen has led to a proposal from some US Congressional leaders to propose reducing US military aid to Saudi Arabia.
Trump repeated his description of the Iran nuclear deal as the “worst deal ever,” the official said. Trump later told reporters: “The Iran deal is coming up soon and you will see what will happen. Iran hasn’t been treating that part of the world, or the world, appropriately.”
Also in attendance at the bilateral meeting were Vice President Mike Pence, current CIA Director, and Secretary of State-nominee, Mike Pompeo and the national security adviser Lt. Gen. H R McMaster.
Last night, Crown Prince Mohammed had dinner with Jared Kushner, special envoy for Middle East negotiations Jason Greenblatt and the senior director for the Middle East at the National Security Council. They briefed the Crown Prince on the status of their peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians.
Channel 10 News’ Barak Ravid reported yesterday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a decision by the US President to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal might lead to the collapse of the agreement and, as a result, could lead to a regional war.
Merkel emphasised this position when she met Netanyahu at the world economic forum in Davos on 24 January. Merkel reportedly told Netanyahu that a US withdrawal would divide the West. She reportedly said: “It will put us, the British and the French on the same side with Russia, China and Iran when the US and Israel will be on the other side. Is this what you want?” She also said that the European powers do not want do violate their international commitments and that US withdrawal would harm the credibility of the West because “no one would take our word anymore”.
Trump has given the European signatories of the JCPOA a deadline of 12 May to fix what he termed “the terrible flaws” of the deal, otherwise he will not extend US sanctions relief on Iran.
Britain, France and Germany are proposing that the EU implement new sanctions on Iran because of its involvement in the conflict in Syria and continued development of ballistic missiles. However, it is unclear whether these proposals will be enough to persuade President Trump not to withdraw from the agreement.