Adel Al Jubeir: Maximum pressure on Iran the only way to get negotiations

He said Yemen talks between government and southern forces were close to a deal

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends the Arab Foreign Ministers extraordinary meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis in Cairo, Egypt October 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The United States’ policy of maximum pressure on Iran is the only way to get Tehran to the negotiating table, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir said on Thursday.

The minister is in Paris for talks with French officials amid efforts to defuse US-Iranian tensions and help Yemen's Saudi-backed government and southern separatists end a standoff in the southern port of Aden.

"We think that appeasement doesn't work. Actions count, not words. Members of the Iranian government talk, but have no power. Those who have, like the Revolutionary Guards, don't want to negotiate," Mr Jubeir told Liberation newspaper in an interview.

He was responding to a question about French attempts to bring the United States and Iran together, including by convincing US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Iran.

French President Emmanuel Macron attempted and failed last month to broker talks between Mr Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Prospects of any talks in coming weeks seem slim, with Tehran demanding US sanctions are lifted before any sit-down.

"As far as we're concerned, maximum pressure is the only way," Mr Jubeir said.

When asked about the status of talks between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and southern separatists, Mr Jubeir said it was crucial to end their differences to ensure focus could turn to battling the Iran-aligned Houthi group and Al Qaeda militants.

"We are trying to reach peace between the Southern Transition Council (STC) and the Hadi government. I think we are close," he said.

Saudi Arabia has hosted indirect talks between them to rebuild the coalition fighting against the Houthi movement that expelled Mr Hadi's government from the capital Sanaa five years ago.