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NATO chief concerned about Iran missile programme
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) Oct 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia backs Trump's 'firm strategy' on Iran
Riyadh (AFP) Oct 13, 2017 - Saudi Arabia said Friday it backs US President Donald Trump's "firm strategy" on regional rival Iran after he refused to certify the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

"The kingdom backs and welcomes the firm strategy on Iran and its aggressive policy that was announced by US President Donald Trump," the official Saudi Press Agency said in a statement.

The Sunni monarchy in Saudi Arabia has for years accused Shiite Iran of "destabilising" the Arab world. The region's two powerhouses also support opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

The two countries severed diplomatic ties in January 2016 after Iranians stormed Saudi Arabia's embassy and consulate in response to the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Saudi Arabia and its fellow Sunni Arab states had strong reservations over the deal brokered between Iran and six world powers, including the United States, in 2015 but reluctantly accepted it.

In Friday's statement, Riyadh said it would continue working with the United States and other world powers to "deal with the dangers represented by Iran's policy on all levels".

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Friday refused to intervene in the row over the Iran nuclear deal, but said the alliance had concerns about Tehran's "continuous development of missile capabilities".

US President Donald Trump is set to "decertify" the landmark 2015 agreement which curtailed Iran's nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, leaving lawmakers to decide whether to withdraw completely.

Stoltenberg refused to be drawn on whether he thought the deal was working, but stressed that compliance with its conditions was essential if it was to have any meaning.

"It is not for NATO to make assessments about compliance, that's for nations that are part of the agreement and the IAEA to make that kind of assessment," he told AFP in an interview.

And he reiterated NATO concerns about issues not covered in the deal, in particular Iran's ballistic missile programme.

"The nuclear deal covers the development of nuclear weapons but it doesn't cover missile programmes and we are concerned about the continuous development of missile capabilities of Iran," he said.

Trump has derided the agreement as "the worst deal" and accused Tehran of not living up to the "spirit" of it, but UN inspectors say Iran is meeting the technical requirements of its side of the bargain. International allies, particularly the EU, have lobbied for it to stay, arguing that it is effective.

But last month Iran said it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) capable of carrying multiple warheads, in defiance of warnings from Washington.

A decision by Trump to decertify the deal would leave it at grave risk, with the US Congress having 60 days to decide whether to re-impose specific sanctions on Tehran that were lifted because of the diplomatic pact.

It would risk unpicking 12 years of careful diplomacy between Iran and six world powers -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US -- who crafted the deal.

Netanyahu praises Trump's 'courageous decision' on Iran
Jerusalem (AFP) Oct 13, 2017 - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated US President Donald Trump on his "courageous decision" after he refused on Friday to certify the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

"I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran's terrorist regime," Netanyahu said in a video in English.

"If the Iran deal is left unchanged, on thing is absolutely certain. In a few years time, the world's foremost terrorist regime will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons and that's a tremendous danger for our collective future," he said.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denounced the deal signed by Iran and six world powers including the United States, which saw sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.

On Friday, Trump stopped short of withdrawing from the accord, but "decertified" his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress.

"President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran's aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism," the Israeli premier said.

IAEA chief confirms Iran complying with nuclear deal
Rome (AFP) Oct 9, 2017
The UN atomic agency chief on Monday affirmed Iran's commitment to a 2015 nuclear deal, in a statement that came as US President Donald Trump said Tehran was not living up to the "spirit" of the agreement. "I can state that the nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the (nuclear agreement) are being implemented," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said in pre ... read more

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