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Thursday, January 14, 2016
Kerry Stands by Saudis While Urging Diplomacy With Iran
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday stood by ally Saudi Arabia in its widening rift with Iran over the execution of a Shiite cleric while urging the regional rivals to pursue a diplomatic solution.The balancing act for Washington comes as the Obama administration readies billions of dollars' worth of sanctions relief for Iran and seeks the Islamic Republic's support in ending the Syrian civil war.
Kerry met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir amid overlapping U.S. diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and America's own difficulties with the Sunni kingdom. The talks also coincided with Shiite Iran's effort to completely satisfy the terms of last summer's nuclear deal. Once Iran completes the task, probably in coming days, it should begin to reap massive economic benefits.
Saudi Arabia, which expressed reservations over the July accord, is wary of an enriched and emboldened Iran. The United States has offered the Saudis additional security assurances but remains perturbed by the mass executions carried out Jan. 2, which sparked the latest crisis with Iran. After an Iranian mob stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, the Saudis severed diplomatic ties.During their talks in a London hotel, Kerry said countries in the Mideast should not interfere in the affairs of others, referencing Saudi charges that Iran foments Shiite unrest throughout the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. (Read More)