Iran is calling the United States out on their support of Saudi Arabia. Iranian leadership is particularly critical because the United States is selling nuclear technology to the Saudis. They are so angry that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif went so far as to assert that the United States is exhibiting the highest levels of hypocrisy.
As Newsmax reports, as part of his tirade against the United States the Iranian Foreign Minister argued that while the U.S. is extremely critical of Iran and their nuclear development, they look the other way when Saudi Arabia dismembers a journalist in Turkey. That incident, he said, is part of the United States' double standard. In a tweet Zarif wrote: "First a dismembered journalist; now illicit sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia fully expose #USHypocrisy."
Zarif is not wrong. The U.S. sale of nuclear technology to the Saudis and the relative silence in response to the brutal execution of Jamal Khashoggi is indeed troubling. And while Congress on both sides of the aisle has made serious demands to investigate the murder, the Administration has not really pushed the issue. About the sale of nuclear technology to the Saudis — here too Iran has a very good point. And Iran should, rightfully, be worried.
On the other hand, there is a convincing argument for selling nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The argument is that Iran itself is sprinting towards the attainment of nuclear weapons. And if that doesn't scare Congress, it should. In fact, the ongoing game of hide and seek that Iran has been playing with nuclear technology should be the only argument needed in favor of providing the Saudis with U.S. technology.
As angry, upset, scared as they are, Iran is solely responsible for this countermove by the United States and Saudi Arabia. Iran and Saudi Arabia are arch enemies. The United States needs to keep Iran in check and wants to do them damage. The sale, under those circumstances, makes perfect diplomatic sense. And it might just save parts of the world from destruction.
Once upon a time the glue that bound the United States and Saudi Arabia was oil. No more. Times have changed, needs have changed, the world has changed. But that doesn't mean that everything is better. There are still serious dangers lurking within this new alliance between the United States and the Saudis.
The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are not friends. That must be clear. They are allies on only a few certain issues and worlds apart in so many other ways. Take governing, minority rights, the equality of women, religion, and even access of information and freedom of expression to name a few. Not to mention the accountability of leaders to their citizens and equal protection under the law. Those are just a few of the major divides between the countries.
Much of what the United States holds dear is not shared in any way by Saudi leaders. The ideals that are the essence of the character of the United States are an anathema to Saudi Arabia. The link between the United States and Saudi Arabia is a distrust of Iran. And in the world of international affairs, mutual interests dictate actions. The United States and Saudi Arabia have entered into an alliance, not a friendship.
Iran is correct in pointing this out. Once the Saudi get the nuclear technology they want, there will be nothing to stop them from going off in directions that do not, in any way, segue with U.S. interests. Iran knows that well. They want everyone else to know it just as well.