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Saudi calls on international community to curb Iran’s nuclear activity
By Dilan Sirwan for Rudaw.net
13-10-2021 - ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Saudi Arabia called on the international community to take action toward Iran’s “continuous breaches” of international treaties related to the nuclear deal, less than a week after both sides expressed hope in their ongoing talks.
 Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah on Tuesday told the UN General Assembly that the international community needs to assume its responsibilities towards “Iran's continued breaches and violations of international agreements and treaties related to the nuclear agreement, and its escalation of its nuclear activities in addition to research and development activities.”
Saudi state media also reported the foreign minister as saying that his country supports international efforts to ensure that Iran does not possess nuclear weapons in the short or long term and that it is prevented from being able to “divert the peaceful use of nuclear energy for military use.”
After Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Iran steadily walked back on its obligations under the accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), boosting its enrichment of uranium and bringing more advanced centrifuges online.
Despite several countries raising concerns over the country’s nuclear program, Iran has on several occasions said that its goal is not to develop a nuclear weapon, and their nuclear program is peaceful.
Iran’s acting deputy foreign minister also had his share of comments on the matter, claiming that Iran “strongly rejects the preservation, storage, development, use and proliferation of nuclear weapons globally and regionally.”
Reza Najafi rejected the Saudi comments and in turn said that Saudi needs to make its nuclear activities transparent under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The back and forth accusations come less than a week after both sides expressed hope in Saudi-Iranian talks being held in Baghdad.
Iran’s foreign ministry on Thursday said that if Saudi Arabia pays attention to the message of Iran that “the solution to the problems in the region lies within the region itself” then they should be able to reach a good understanding.
Earlier last week, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud told the UN General Assembly that they hope to reach tangible results in their talks with Iran. However, the monarch still went on to criticize Iran’s nuclear program saying that they support international efforts aimed at preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, and expressed its "deep concern over Iranian steps that contradict its commitments and contradict what Iran has always declared that its nuclear program is peaceful.”
While relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained for decades, they took a notable dive in 2016, when Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi diplomatic missions following the Kingdom’s execution of Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Other regional powers worried about the growing tension between Riyadh and Tehran have stepped in to bring the two foes to the negotiation table.
In August, Iraqi moderation brought both countries to the table when Baghdad hosted a summit for neighboring countries, a step that was at the time welcomed by Iran.
Iran’s ambassador to Iraq has previously welcomed Baghdad’s efforts to mend regional relations. “If Iraq can play any role in bringing Iran closer to the countries with which we have some challenges, or our relations have cooled or political cooperation with them has stopped; we will be happy,” Iraj Masjedi told Iranian state media in April.
In late April, Iran said it could enter a “new chapter” with Saudi Arabia, welcoming a “change of tone” from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who said he hoped for improved ties with Tehran.
Representatives of Iran and Saudi Arabia have previously held talks in Baghdad, facilitated by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
 Saudi Arabia has had rocky relations with the Islamic Republic since 1979 when Shia revolutionaries came to power and pledged to export their revolution to the world including to the Gulf countries. Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels in the Yemeni civil war since late 2014 has caused concerns for the Saudi establishment.

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