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Saudi media attack Iran’s agreement

Saudi Arabian media attacked Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers yesterday, with cartoonists depicting it as an assault on Arab interests and columnists decrying the focus on Tehran’s atomic plans instead of its backing for regional militias.

Riyadh’s official reaction to the deal was a terse statement that welcomed any agreement that would ensure Iran could not develop a nuclear arsenal but stressed the importance of tough inspections and the ability to reimpose sanctions quickly.

In private, however, Saudi officials fear an Iran released from international pressure and economic sanctions will have more freedom and money to back allies across the region who are opposed by Riyadh.

It was shared fear of the group that had prompted Iran and the US to agree

A cartoon in Asharq al-Awsat, a pan-Arab daily close to King Salman’s branch of the ruling family, showed a trampled body marked Middle East, with a placard saying nuclear deal sticking from its head.

In al-Jazirah daily, columnist Jasser al-Jasser wrote an article headlined ‘A terrorist Iran instead of a nuclear Iran’, alluding to his fear that the deal would simply allow Tehran to back Muslim militants.

A concern that such Iranian involvement in Arab countries was feeding the sectarian conflict that allowed Islamic State to thrive was evident in a cartoon in the Saudi daily al-Watan, also owned by a branch of the ruling family.

In a column on the front page of al-Hayat, Ghassan Charbel also linked the deal to Islamic State, but he argued that it was shared fear of the group that had prompted Iran and the US to agree.

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