WASHINGTON D.C.: Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Friday that Iran was accelerating its nuclear activities and putting the region in “a very dangerous place” amid efforts to bring Tehran back into a 2015 nuclear deal.
The prince gave a wide ranging news conference in Washington on regional developments during his visit to the US, where he met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
Talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been “cordial” but had not made substantial progress, he said.
"I think we are in a very dangerous place. The fact that we continue to see acceleration of those activities ... leads to the devaluation of the JCPOA," he said, using the initials of the agreement formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, has so far refused to resume the indirect talks in Vienna.
Prince Faisal also said the international community “needed to put much more pressure” on the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to accept Saudi Arabia's ceasefire proposal.
At the news conference, the prince also discussed the political crisis in Lebanon, where he said the events of the past two days showed the need for “real serious change” from the country's leaders. Tensions over a probe into last year's massive blast in Beirut burst into the worst street violence in more than a decade on Thursday.
In Afghanistan, bin Farhan said, the Taliban rulers should take the “path of national reconciliation” and bring together all elements of Afghan society, echoing calls by Western leaders for an inclusive government in the country where a US-backed government collapsed in August as American and other foreign forces were withdrawing.
He also said the Kingdom was “committed to a balanced energy market, a balanced oil market,” and said Saudi Arabia was managing challenges to the global energy market posed by the COVID-19 pandemic “in a way that provides stability and serves the interests of producers and consumers.”
* With Reuters