PARIS, Oct 24 (Reuters) – A senior Saudi official said on Thursday that a policy of appeasement would not work with Iran and that the only way to get Tehran to the negotiating table was to apply maximum pressure.
Saudi Minister of State Adel al-Jubeir was in Paris for talks with French officials amid efforts to defuse U.S.-Iranian tensions and help Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and southern separatists end a power struggle 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,” 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 U.S. President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on Iran.
French President Emmanuel Macron attempted and failed last month to broker talks between Trump and Rouhani in New York. Prospects of any talks in coming weeks seem slim, with Tehran demanding U.S. sanctions are lifted first.
“As far as we’re concerned, maximum pressure is the only way,” Jubeir said.
When asked about the status of talks between Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and southern separatists, 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 (separatist) 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 Hadi’s government from the capital Sanaa five years ago.
(Reporting by John Irish; editing by Leigh Thomas, William Maclean)