Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir attends with the Arab foreign ministers an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on January 10, 2016. AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI
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The implementation of the Iran nuclear deal marked a major step forward in Washington's cautious rapprochement with Iran, but will further strain ties with Saudi Arabia.That bore fruit this week with the quick release of 10 US sailors captured in the Gulf by Iranian forces, the freeing of five US prisoners in Iran and the formal implementation of the accord.In fact, the US outreach to Iran over the nuclear deal has only served to make Saudi Arabia more anxious.This week, Jubeir could be forgiven for seeking to underline what he sees as the Iranian threat to America: Iranian forces seized two boatloads of US sailors in the Gulf.Instead, the sailors were released within 16 hours and the State Department chalked up the resolution of the crisis to Kerry's relationship with Iran's foreign minister.Many in Washington, never mind Riyadh, are furious -- alleging that the White House is soft-pedaling Iranian provocations to protect the Iran nuclear deal, despite the loss of face.Before Iran's Islamic revolution, former US presidents like Richard Nixon had a two-pillar strategy of maintaining ties with both the shah's Iran and Saudi Arabia.
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