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Saudi Arabia 'optimistic' over Trump stance on Iran

Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir hailed Trump's stern line on Iran [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 January, 2017

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said he was positive about the way the incoming US administration wanted to restore US influence in the world, contain Iran, and fight IS.
US-ally Saudi Arabia is "optimistic" about Donald Trump's impending presidency, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday, and particularly his stern line on regional rival Iran and promise to defeat the Islamic State group.

"When we look at the Trump administration's view as articulated - wanting to restore America's role in the world - we welcome this," Jubeir told a group of reporters during a visit to Paris

"Wanting to defeat [IS]: absolutely. Wanting to contain Iran and prevent it from causing mischief through its negative policies in the region: absolutely, we have been calling for this for years," he said, speaking in English. 

"Our interests align," he added.

Jubeir declared that Washington and Riyadh also shared the same objectives on Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, terrorism and "energy issues".

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran worsened after hundreds of Iranians died in a stampeded at the 2015 hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Iran blamed Saudi incompetence for the disaster and boycotted the pilgrimage in 2016.

Riyadh cut ties with Tehran in January 2016 after Iranian demonstrators torched its embassy and a consulate following the execution of leading Saudi Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Both countries are at odds over a raft of regional issues, notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen in which they support opposing sides.

"Our relationship with Iran is tense and its... aggressive and hostile policies. It would be wonderful to live in peace and harmony with Iran, but it takes two to tango," Jubeir said.

"We look forward to working with them (Trump's team) in all the areas that are of interest or concern to both of us," Jubeir said.

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