Obama will visit Saudi Arabia amid worry over Iran deal
February 3rd, 2014
12:37 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama will visit Saudi Arabia amid worry over Iran deal

(CNN) - President Barack Obama will travel to Saudi Arabia in March as concern over his administration’s recent interim deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons stirs concern among other Mideast nations.

While in the country he’ll meet with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss Middle East peace and common interests in the Arabian Gulf, the White House said Monday. Aside from the recent nuclear accord, struck last fall, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state neighbors have expressed frustration at the United States’ role in Syria, where rebels continue to battle against the Iran-backed regime.

The trip will come following a previously scheduled visit to Europe that will include a meeting with Pope Francis. It will be Obama’s second visit to Saudi Arabia; he visited the Kingdom in 2009 as part of his first trip as president to the Middle East.

Last year Obama traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan; next month he’ll meet with Jordan’s king at the Sunnylands retreat in California.

Saudi Arabia and the United States are longtime allies, having been bound by mutual military interests and Saudi Arabia’s oil supplies. The alliance has been shaken, however, by the U.S. deal with Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran.

The interim plan, which started taking effect in January, loosened some U.S. sanctions on Iran in exchange for a drawdown in nuclear enrichment. Saudi officials, speaking when the deal was struck, said they had been left out of the negotiating process.

Earlier in the fall, Saudi leaders expressed dismay when Obama didn’t order air strikes in Syria, which he initially advocated for but backed away from when it appeared Congress wasn’t on board.

“We believe that many of the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risk the stability and security of the Middle East. This is a dangerous gamble, about which we cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Britain, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz al Saud, wrote in The New York Times in December.

Speaking at the White House Monday, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Iran and Syria would be discussed during Obama’s meeting with King Abdullah in March.

“Whatever differences we may have do not alter the fact that this is a very important and close partnership,” Carney said.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Awww! Poor little Saudi Arabia is feeling neglected.

    February 3, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. yolanda

    @Dutch, it's called oil. As long as we're still eating out of their hand, we can't bite it.

    February 3, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. larry

    You mean weapons deals.

    February 3, 2014 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. smith

    Oh no Obama, if you meet with king you`ll be linked to 9/11 just like Bush was. Maybe not, Micheal Moore likes Obama.

    February 3, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. David

    Hey! This is another chance to witness a President of the United States BOW or another leader??!! Perhaps he can ask why Saudi is #1 in human rights abuse?

    February 3, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. yolanda

    No Larry, I mean oil. We sell weapons to all comers, oil or no oil.

    February 3, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. rla

    Omama got snookered by the Iranians and the whole middle east is either laughing or scared S-less at the prospect of a nuke powered Islamic state... Again good going Obama

    February 3, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "... Saudi Arabia and its Gulf state neighbors have expressed frustration at the United States’ role in Syria, where rebels continue to battle against the Iran-backed regime."
    ---------------------------------
    Syria is more Russia's problem than it is America's problem. I don't know what the Saudis expect from the U.S., but military action against this particular Soviet puppet state would be highly inadvisable. Doing so increases the potential for American and Russian militaries firing at one another. I have no doubt that outcome would be welcomed by many people in this country who seem to think the U.S. miliary is invincible and infallble. The Russians need to fix Syria, not the U.S.

    February 3, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    David

    Hey! This is another chance to witness a President of the United States BOW or another leader??!! Perhaps he can ask why Saudi is #1 in human rights abuse?
    -------------------------
    Did you know that the United States has the largest percentage of its' citizens who are incarcerated?
    Did you know that the most oppressed populations in the world live in countries with the smallest governments?

    February 3, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. The REAL TRUTH...

    @ria – yes, just like he did with Syria, eh? not one shot fired, chemical weapons seized, agreement with Putin, paid for by UN.. yawn.

    February 3, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    yolanda

    No Larry, I mean oil. We sell weapons to all comers, oil or no oil.
    ---------------------------------
    No Larry, I mean oil. We, Republicans, sell weapons to all comers, oil or no oil.

    FIFY.

    February 3, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. smith

    @Rudy- What about Obama sending arms to the rebes in Syria?

    February 3, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. ProudDem

    I found it amusing that while a potential peace deal with Iran is by far the most significant thing to happen in years, O'Reilly did not ask one question about it...for fear of it being something positive. As far as the middle east goes, the U.S. will not be an oil based economy in another generation, it will be interesting to see what happens when the demand for oil dries up.

    February 3, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. rs

    I hope you are kidding- because I remember Bush holding hands with the Saudi Prince and kissing him on the cheek.

    February 3, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. rs

    We are currently the largest exporter of oil- BTW- you know where the Canadian tarsands oil is headed if the Keystone pipeline gets built, right?

    February 3, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |