On Thursday, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, a Saudi diplomat turned to his Israeli counterpart. “What’s going on here?” he asked. “What do you make of all this?”
Over the past week, similar conversations have taken place between senior Israeli diplomats and officials from the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and other Sunni Gulf states. An Israeli official who requested anonymity said there was a common message in these conversations and a shared sense of anxiety.
“All governments in the moderate Sunni states, especially in the Gulf, are very worried about the thaw in relations between the U.S. and Iran,” the senior Israeli official said. “They’re afraid that the American-Iranian deal will come at their expense. There’s pressure not only in Jerusalem, but in the Gulf as well. They’re really wetting their pants.”
The official added that the angst being relayed to the White House over the negotiations between the United States and Iran is emanating from Jerusalem and – perhaps mainly – from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
According to the Israeli official, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, held tense talks with senior administration officials over the past few days and asked for clarifications concerning the U.S. position on Iran.
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