Gulf Leaders Descend on White House to Stop Obama from Sealing Iran Nuclear Deal

May 14, 2015

2 min read

Leaders from the Gulf nations descended on the White House on Wednesday to warn US President Barack Obama of the impending risks of sealing a nuclear deal with Iran. For his part, Obama is seeking to convince the leaders of what he said were numerous benefits to the deal.

The two-day talks, which are set to wrap up on Thursday, will unlikely change the status quo. The president will meet with leaders from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

The Gulf’s skepticism of Iran runs deep and extends beyond the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. Leaders warned the president that signing the deal with Iran could very well lead to a nuclear arms race across the Middle Eastern region.

Despite the fears of the Gulf nations, Obama has come too far to back out now from the deal and tarnish his presidential legacy.

To assuage the Gulf’s concerns, the White House is rumored to be imminently offering a military aid package which would include increasing the number of joint exercises and the transfer of advanced weaponry, such as ballistic missile systems, to Gulf nations.

A similar aid package with the Gulf, in the form of a formal defense treaty, was denied in the past by the US government, mostly because of the difficulties of getting such an agreement passed by Congress.

On Wednesday, Obama met separately with Saudi Arabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The president was scheduled to meet with Saudi King Salman but it was announced over the weekend that the ruling monarch would not travel to Washington, in an apparent snub.

When opening up the meeting with Saudi officials, the president acknowledged that the Middle East region is in the midst of a “very challenging time.”

Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes remained optimistic about the future of the nuclear deal with Iran and the alliance between the US and Gulf nations.

“There have been disagreements under this administration and under the previous administration about certain policies and development in the Middle East, but I think on a set of core interests, we continue to have a common view about what we aim to achieve,” he stated.

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