The PJ Tatler

White House Paints Oddly Rosy Picture of Saudi Discussions About Iran Deal

President Obama welcomed Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to the White House today for a meeting behind closed doors — and offered a summary of the discussions that was probably much more rosy than what happened behind closed doors.

“They welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between the P5+1, EU and Iran on July 14 which, once fully implemented, will effectively cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon and verifiably ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward,” the administration said in a readout of the meeting.

“Following on the Camp David meetings with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders, they discussed efforts underway to further enhance the close and long standing partnership between our two countries and build Saudi Arabia’s security capabilities, noting that Secretary of Defense Carter’s visit to Saudi Arabia next week will advance those discussions.”

The White House said Obama al-Jubeir, who is very familiar with all Beltway players as the longtime Saudi ambassador before his new post, “also reviewed efforts to jointly address and seek to resolve regional crises.”

“They discussed the urgency of stopping the fighting in Yemen and the importance of ensuring that assistance is reaching Yemenis in need through international humanitarian channels without any impediments or delays,” the readout continued. “They discussed cooperation to reach a genuine political solution in Syria. They also reaffirmed our mutual commitment to reinforce efforts to support Iraq and continue the coalition’s work in the counter-ISIL campaign. The President asked Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir to convey his best wishes to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.”

Yesterday outside a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, al-Jubeir said the Saudis “look forward to an agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear capability, that has a robust and continuous inspections regime to make sure that Iran does not violate the terms of the agreement, and that has an effective and quick snapback provision that allows the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran should it violate the terms of that agreement.”

“We all support the continuation of the sanctions against Iran related to counterterrorism and related to its support for terrorism and other issues. And we hope that the Iranians, if a deal is implemented, that the Iranians will use this deal in order to improve the economic situation in Iran and to improve the lot of the Iranian people, and not use it for adventures in the region,” the foreign minister continued.

“And we are committed that if Iran should try to cause mischief in the region, we are committed to confront it resolutely. And so we are — we will — we’re looking at this agreement and we will be studying it, and we are discussing it with our friends in the United States. But the bottom line is everybody wants a good deal, and so we expect that with time we will be exchanging ideas with our friends in the U.S. and with the other P5+1 countries, and in order to get at questions — answers to some of the questions we may have.”

Kerry cut off the press availability after al-Jubeir’s comments.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said King Salman requested that Obama meet personally with al-Jubeir when the president phoned the monarch earlier in the week to break the news of the deal.

When pressed further by reporters on the contents of the conversations, Earnest stuck firmly to the readout talking points.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Saudis are expected to launch offensives in Yemen and Syria before Iran can start raking in its cash windfall from the deal.