Saudi Arabia welcomes US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

Trump announced the US will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran. (AP)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia welcomes US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal

  • Saudi Arabia: The Iranian regime took advantage of the economic benefits afforded by the lifting of sanctions and used them to continue its destabilizing activities in the region
  • The Kingdom reaffirms its support of the strategy previously announced by President Trump towards Iran

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia welcomed the announcement on Tuesday by President Donald Trump that the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. The government said it also supports the reinstatement of economic sanctions on the Iranian regime, which were suspended under the agreement.

The Kingdom’s previous support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — signed in 2015 by Iran and the P5+1 group of countries China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany — was based, it said, on the conviction that all possible steps must be taken that might help to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and the wider world.

“The Iranian regime however, took advantage of the economic benefits afforded by the lifting of sanctions,” the government said in a statement released by Saudi Press Agency, “and used them to continue its destabilizing activities in the region, especially by developing its ballistic missiles and supporting terrorist organizations in the region, including Hezbollah and the Houthi militias.” It said the groups used these capabilities, provided by Iran, to target civilians in the Kingdom and Yemen, “as well as repeatedly targeting international shipping lanes in a blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”

The statement continued: “The Kingdom reaffirms its support of the strategy previously announced by President Trump towards Iran, and hopes the international community will take a firm and unified stance against the Iranian regime, and its destabilizing aggression in the region, its support to terrorist groups, particularly Hezbollah and the Houthi militias, and its support of the Assad regime — which has committed heinous crimes against its people that led to the death of more than half a million civilians, including through the use of chemical weapons.”

It concluded: “Based on this position, the Kingdom asserts its commitment to work with its partners in the United States and the international community to reach the goals announced by President Trump, and the necessity to address the dangers posed by the policies of Iran on international peace and security through a holistic approach that is not limited to its nuclear program, but addresses its hostile activities, including Iran's interference in the internal affairs of countries in the region, its support of terrorism, and to prevent Iran from ever possessing weapons of mass destruction.”


Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

Updated 20 min 15 sec ago
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Indian exporters urge government to negotiate lift of Saudi ban on produce 

  • The ban was imposed in wake of Nipah virus outbreak last May 
  • With mango season around the corner, Kerala exporters hope the Kingdom will allow imports again

NEW DELHI: Indian exporters have urged the government to ask Saudi Arabia to lift the importation ban on fruits and vegetables from the southern state of Kerala.

The outbreak of a deadly virus in certain parts of Kerala in May last year forced Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to ban imports of horticultural products from the state. 

Most GCC countries have lifted the ban thereafter.

“We are losing more than $1,000 per day as a result of the ban,” says P.E. Ashraf Ali of Pomona Exports, a Kerala-based export company that has been sending fruits and vegetables to Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years.

“We are now sending our products to other south Indian cities, like Coimbatore and Bangalore, and this entails extra costs for us and has significantly reduced our profit margin,” Ali told Arab News.  

Around 20 exporters in Kerala export horticulture products to GCC countries.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the major markets for us in the Gulf region,” said Ali. “Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah are three major airports to which we send our products.” 

V.S. Sunil Kumar, Kerala's agriculture minister, called it “a serious issue.”

He said: “I have already sent two letters to the union government in New Delhi to talk to Saudi Arabia and sort out the matter. New Delhi should reassure them and request them to lift the ban.”

Kumar, who is also a minister in the communist government in the southern state, reiterated the importance of trade with Saudi Arabia.

“Kerala and the Kingdom have shared close trade and cultural ties for centuries,” he told Arab News. “I understand the central government has already taken up the issue with authorities in Saudi Arabia. New Delhi should take more proactive steps to address the concerns of exporters in Kerala.”

V Venugopal, president of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a premier trade body in Kerala, called for inter-governmental discussion between India and Saudi Arabia to sort out this issue.

“The Kerala government has taken very effective steps to control the Nipah virus,” he said. “If exports do not resume soon, the fruit and vegetable market will be very badly impacted. These are very perishable items that cannot be stored. The Indian government should convince Riyadh that Nipah was a small incident that happened more than seven months ago.”

He said that mangoes from Kerala are among the most popular in Saudi Arabia and that many people from Kerala living in Saudi Arabia are expecting the fruit. 

“This is not only a loss for local farmers, but for people in the country,” he said.

Arab News approached the Commerce Ministry in New Delhi on this issue, but received no comment.