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House Intelligence chair: China-brokered Saudi-Iran truce ‘troubling’

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio)
Greg Nash
Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) addresses reporters during a press conference on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 to discuss the on-going budget negotiations.

The Chinese-negotiated agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia to reestablish diplomatic ties, which called into question U.S. influence in the region, is “very troubling,” according to Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

“I think that, of course, is a reflection on the Biden administration,” Turner said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “It’s not unexpected that [Saudi Arabia] might look elsewhere for support. It certainly is very unexpected and certainly very troubling and disappointing that they would turn to Iran.”

The deal between the two adversaries, which was negotiated over four days in Beijing, eased tensions between two of the most influential countries in the Middle East after years of hostilities. Turner, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday highlighted the Biden administration’s criticism of Saudi Arabia and said U.S. officials have been slow to respond to Riyadh’s military needs.

The unexpected deal means that Saudi Arabia and Iran will resume diplomatic relations with each other and open up embassies in each country. The two nations have been on opposing sides in a prolonged and deadly civil war in Yemen.

But the Chinese-brokered deal raised red flags in the west as anxiety grows over China’s increasing influence in the region. Republicans have blasted President Biden, saying he is soft on China, and have sounded the alarm on Beijing’s global ambitions.

“The Biden administration appears to be much too timid… in their approach to Russia… and I think even in China they are afraid to provoke,” Turner said. “They are absolutely emerging as a military threat to the United States. I think we need to respond and respond very strongly.”

–Updated at 10:30 a.m.

Tags Biden Biden administration China Iran Mike Turner Mike Turner saudi arabia

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