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article imageSaudi Foreign Minister doubts effectiveness of sanctions on Iran

By Chris Dade     Feb 15, 2010 in World
Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, said on Monday that sanctions against Iran were not an effective short-term solution to the possible threat posed by Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
According to AFP, while he was seated alongside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in the Middle East on Sunday for a short visit to the region - during which she pushed for tougher action against the regime in Tehran - Prince Saud al-Faisal told those attending a press conference:Sanctions are a long-term solution (but) ... we see the issue in the shorter term because we are closer to the threat. If we want security for the region, it requires an Iran at peace and happy with themselves
The Associated Press notes that the Saudi Foreign Minister did not indicate what his solution to the concerns over the possible acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran might be but Mrs Clinton, with whom he met for talks prior to the press conference, had earlier spelled out what she thought was happening in the country which has seen frequent protests since the reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President.
Before her talks in Riyadh with Prince Saud al-Faisal, she met also with Saudi head of state King Abdullah away from the country's capital, Mrs Clinton had addressed students at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Doha, capital of Qatar.
And Al Jazeera quotes her as warning the students:We see the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the parliament is being supplanted and Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship
She added:We are planning to try to bring the world community together in applying pressure to Iran through sanctions adopted by the United Nations that will be particularly aimed at those enterprises controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, which we believe is, in effect, supplanting the government of Iran
U.S. officials were apparently also hoping that the Saudi authorities would use their closer ties with Beijing to persuade officials there to drop their opposition to sanctions against Iran, possibly by guaranteeing oil supplies to China, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council holding a veto, in the event that the supplies they currently receive from Iran cease.
But Prince Saud al-Faisal dashed those hopes as he told the assembled media, as Mrs Clinton listened, that the Chinese authorities "need no suggestion from Saudi Arabia to do what they ought to do".
All of which may make this week's visit to Iran by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of even greater importance.
The BBC reports that Mr Davutoglu is due to arrive in Iran, his country's eastern neighbor, on Tuesday to discuss how the West and Tehran might reach an agreement over the Iranians' desire to pursue what they claim is a peaceful nuclear program.
Failure to make progress towards a deal which could involve Turkey becoming what the BBC describes as a "nuclear repository" for Iran may leave authorities in Ankara with a dilemma.
As much as they reportedly wish to improve their relationship with Iran, doing so while the nuclear dispute between the West and Iran remains unresolved may weaken the relationship Turkey, a member of NATO, has with the U.S. and Europe.
With regard to states with nuclear weapons in the Middle East, the Associated Press observes that Prince Saud al-Faisal told the press conference he attended with Mrs Clinton that Israel must abide by the same rules as other countries in the region.
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