Resigned to a nuclear deal revival, Saudi Arabia, UAE engage with Iran

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, resigned to the revival of a nuclear pact with Iran they always opposed, are engaging with Tehran to contain tensions while lobbying for future talks to take their security concerns into account.

World powers have been negotiating in Vienna with Iran and the United States to revive the 2015 deal, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions…

Gulf officials worry that they lack the same clout with the Biden administration that they had under Trump. They lobbied to join the Vienna talks, but were rebuffed.

Rather than wait for the outcome in Vienna, Riyadh accepted Iraqi overtures in April to host talks between Saudi and Iranian officials, two sources familiar with the matter said…

Iran holds a number of cards, not least its support for the Houthi movement in Yemen, which the Saudis have failed to defeat after six years of war that exhausted Washington’s patience.

“Yemen is a cheap course for Iran and a very expensive one for Saudi Arabia. This gives Iran a strong bargaining position,” Sager said.

The UAE, for its part, has already been in regular contact with Iran trying to de-escalate, notably since tankers were attacked off its coast in 2019, a third regional source said.

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