King Salman telephoned Trump to voice support for his “firm strategy” against “Iranian aggression and its [Iran’s] support for terrorism in the region,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.
“The king praised the Trump administration, which recognizes the magnitude of these challenges and threats and the need for concerted efforts on terrorism and extremism and its primary sponsor, Iran.”
That followed an announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Friday that praised Trump for the same reasons and said the US president “has created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism.”
Since Trump’s election, the Saudis have been hoping for a tougher American posture toward Tehran, which they view as the great and growing threat to their interests.
In May, they gathered Islamic leaders for a summit with Trump in Riyadh that highlighted Iran as the epicenter of subversion and terrorism in the region. Trump’s decertification of the nuclear deal, his sanctioning of the Revolutionary Guards and his vow to stand up against Iran’s fueling of “conflict, terror and turmoil” are seen by the Saudis as initial crystallization of the more assertive, some would say, aggressive, approach they had hoped for.
The Trump speech was music to the ears of Abdulrahman al-Rashed, former editorin- chief of the London-based, Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He echoed Netanyahu’s choice of the word “courageous” to describe Trump’s approach.
By decertifying the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the president is, in fact, signaling his intent to strengthen it, with the help of Congress, so that the deal advances U.S. national security interests. Right now, the Iranians are hindering inspection of military sites, working feverishly on their ballistic missile program, and banking on the nuclear deal's sunset clauses, which all but guarantee Tehran an advanced nuclear program in roughly a decade.
Hate Trump, Love His Stance on Iran - Jonathan Tobin
Trump's Iran Initiative - Caroline Glick
Trump’s address has the potential to serve as the foundation of a major, positive shift in US policy toward Iran. Such a shift could potentially facilitate the achievement of Trump’s goals of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, containing its regional aggression and empowerment and defeating its terrorist proxies.
Unfortunately, it is also likely, indeed, it is more likely, that his words will not be translated into policies to achieve these critical aims.
Trump’s decision to transfer immediate responsibility to Congress for holding Iran accountable for its hostile actions on the military and other fronts is a risky move. He has a lot of enemies, and the nuclear deal has a lot of supporters on Capitol Hill.
Obama would have never been able to implement his nuclear deal if Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, hadn’t agreed to cast the Constitution aside and ignore Obama’s constitutional duty to present the nuclear deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. Over the past week, Trump and Corker have been involved in an ugly public fight precipitated by Corker’s announcement that he will not be seeking reelection next year.
Today Corker has nothing to restrain him from scuttling Trump’s agenda. If he wishes, out of spite, Corker can block effective sanctions from being passed. And he may do so even though the implications for his Senate colleagues would be dire and even though doing so would render him an unofficial protector of Iran’s nuclear program.
What is true for Corker is doubly true for the Democrats.
Trump created the possibility for such a strategy. It is up to members of Congress, and US allies like Israel and the Sunni Arab states to help Trump conceive and implement it. If they fail, the possibility Trump created will be lost, perhaps irrevocably.