President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with the King Salman of Saudi Arabia on the 4th of September at the White House. The meeting comes in time before final vote by Congress on the Iran deal.
The recently crowned King Salman is visiting the United States for the first time since he became King in January of this year and is supposedly asking for a meeting with Obama to discuss the situation in the region, mainly the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as the Iran nuclear deal and joint security and counterterrorism efforts.
According to Reuters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the meeting would focus on improving the bilateral relations between the two countries and he stated “His visit underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The leaders will discuss Syria, Yemen and steps to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.”
King Salman declined to attend a U.S. summit of Gulf Arab leaders that has been hosted by Obama in May. Obama has also been urging the Gulf Sunni Arab states to accept the deal with Iran that is predominantly with Shi’ite population. The deal was agreed in July by the United States and 5 other world powers to lift the economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program and inspections on their sites.
Republican led Congress is strongly in opposition of the Iran nuclear deal and is making efforts to reject the deal in Congressional vote, something that Obama has referenced to as unproductive, because he plans to veto any rejection. Democrats are coming in support of the deal and are lobbying to relieve anyone that has fear of being attacked by Iran. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has visited Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel, to persuade the countries that the deal is the only acceptable solution and that without this deal Iran would be having untied hands.
The United States and Saudi Arabia are in coalition to fight against the Islamic State militant groups who are reigning in parts of Syria and Iraq and the United States is providing logistics and intelligence support to the Saudis in attacking Iranian rebels in Yemen.
According to Reuters, the Pentagon Chief Carter met with King Salman and his defense minister in July and they were supporting the deal with Iran and said that they hoped for a thorough implementation. The Saudi government denied the claims that King Salman skipped the Camp David summit with Obama because of the Iran strategy. The Saudis have expressed some concerns for the economic sanctions relief of Iran and the flow of money in Tehran, because Iran is the biggest competitor to Saudi Arabia in the region. Despite the falling prices Saudi Arabia is still pumping oil as the world’s largest oil exporter.
Salman’s visit will come days before the Congressional vote on the Iran deal that will curb Tehran’s capability to create a nuclear bomb.