Saudi media support Netanyahu’s Congress speech on Iran

( Media outlets in Saudi Arabia are expressing support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech to Congress, which criticized the deal emerging in the current nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 nations and Iran.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are rival countries, in part due to Saudi Arabia being a Sunni Muslim country and Iran a Shi'a Muslim nation. Saudi Arabia is also greatly concerned over Iran’s nuclear capabilities. A series of columns published this week in Saudi state media criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s emphasis on the need to negotiate the deal with Iran.

"Who could believe that Netanyahu today has taken a better stand than Obama with regard to the Iranian nuclear file?" columnist Ahmed al-Faraj wrote in the Al-Jazirah newspaper, according to Israel Hayom. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with leaders from Gulf Arab states as part of an attempt to ease their growing concerns. Following a meeting with Saudi King Salman and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Sad al-Faisal, Kerry said that the U.S. will not “take our eye off of Iran’s other destabilizing actions in places like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula, Yemen particularly.” 

But in another column—published in Asharq Al-Awsat, a newspaper owned by the Saudi royal family—Abdulrahman al-Rashed wrote, "Iran's fingerprints are everywhere. ... Iran is currently in an offensive state, the likes of which we have not seen in modern history."

Additionally, an editorial by Faisal Abbas, the editor-in-chief of the Saudi-owned Dubai-based news outlet Al-Arabiya, stated that Netanyahu's Congress speech “hit the nail right on the head” in his assessment of the Iranian threats in the Middle East. Abbas wrote that Netanyahu “managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other U.S. allies in the region.” The editor also slammed Obama, calling the U.S. president “the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the [Iranian nuclear] situation.”

Posted on March 6, 2015 .