Editorial cartoons across the Sunni Arab world reflected the anger and fear felt by these states over the recent agreement between Iran and the US-led P5+1 world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program.
According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a US-based watchdog, the April 3 Lausanne agreement has sparked widespread dismay in the Arab press, particularly among political cartoonists.
Many of the images reflect disappointment with the United States for allowing Iran to retain some of its nuclear capabilities and for what is seen as President Barack Obama’s rapprochement with the Islamic Republic.
“The ‘Great Satan’ has become the great friend,” read one caption of a cartoon printed in a Saudi paper showing Iran and the US reaching across the Middle East to shake hands.
An al-Hayat image shows a US President Barack Obama with a nose so long, it extends to form a turban around his head. The cartoon is captioned: “Obama’s ‘Middle East policy’ of lies gives him an Iranian turban.”
Another Saudi paper featured an image of Islamic Revolution founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini standing above a cauldron of fire, as nuclear explosions are seen in the background.
A Bahraini paper ran a cartoon of two hands united in matrimony, captioned: “The Iran-US deal – a ‘surreal marriage’.”
The Gulf states, alongside Israel, have been strongly opposed to any deal with Iran that would allow it to retain some nuclear capability, and have lobbied the US against such an agreement.
Obama was set to meet with leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, next month at Camp David to allay fears of the deal.
Israel, the agreement’s most vocal opponent, has charged that the deal paves the way for Iran to become a nuclear state and threatens its very survival.
Earlier this month, Iran and the global powers sealed the breakthrough agreement outlining limits on Iran’s nuclear program designed to prevent the country from developing atomic weapons. The West has long suspected Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Iran denies the charge, saying its nuclear research is focused on peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.
The framework agreement, which calls for the Islamic Republic to lower the number of centrifuges capable of enriching uranium from 20,000 to 6,000, the reconstruction of a planned reactor, regular monitoring by UN inspectors, and the neutralization of the majority of its enriched stockpiles in exchange for a phased draw down of economic sanctions, was agreed to in principle, with the expectation of signing a final agreement by June 30.