Saudi, UAE Officials Call for Regime Change in Iran at US Summit

Representatives from Gulf countries shared platform with Mossad director at summit against 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Washington, and the director of Israel‘s Mossad spy agency have joined ranks in pushing for regime change in Iran.

Speaking alongside US National Security Adviser John Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called for the overthrow of the Iranian government, saying the Islamic Republic was unlikely to change on its own volition.

“Unless the pressure internally is extremely intense, I don’t believe they will open up,” al-Jubeir said at the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) conference in New York City, which was attended by states that opposed the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“How can we negotiate with a state that wants to kill us,” Jubeir said in remarks carried by UAE newspaper The National.

Saudi and Emirati officials welcomed Washington’s decision to abandon the 2015 Iran deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, it reported.

But Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the US, said external pressure was needed and would be key in changing Iran’s course.

“I think any recalibration of Iranian foreign policy will come from external policy,” said Otaiba, who added the isolation of Tehran must be backed up by European powers, Asian nations, as well as the United States.

“If a missile is launched at Saudi Arabia and the UAE what will the reaction be and how will we be defended?” he said.

“I ask that hypothetically but it’s not really hypothetical. The Gulf countries, Israel, and the countries in the immediate vicinity are the ones at immediate risk.”

Oil and weapons

Military analysts at IHS Jane have suggested Iran could be aiding the Houthis with parts or technology, but added it would be difficult for Tehran to ship whole missiles to Yemen.

Another possibility, they say, is the missiles were acquired by Yemen from North Korea before the current conflict.

Since its withdrawal from the Iran deal, the Trump administration has slapped biting sanctions on Tehran in order to choke its oil exports – the main source of income for the country.

Some of Tehran’s biggest oil customers appear to have succumbed to the US pressure with India – a major buyer of Iranian oil – cutting down on its imports.

However, top diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia have agreed to establish a financial facility in the European Union to facilitate payments for Iranian imports and exports including oil.