Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir met with President Obama Friday at the White House to talk about the Iran nuclear agreement.
It was the president's first meeting with a key Arab ally since the six-nation negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program ended in a deal Tuesday. The meeting was closed to cameras, but a readout from the White House following the discussion said the two "welcomed" the Iran nuclear agreement, "which, once fully implemented, will effectively cut off all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon and verifiably ensure that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward."
Several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, continue to harbor some doubts about the nuclear deal and are unsure that the agreement will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They remain concerned that the loosening on Iran's economic restrictions could shift the power balance in the Middle East.
Secretary of State John Kerry also met with al-Jubeir at the State Department Thursday. After the meeting, al-Jubeir told reporters, "[W]e hope that the Iranians, if a deal is implemented, that the Iranians will use this deal in order to improve the economic situation in Iran and to improve the lot of the Iranian people, and not use it for adventures in the region."
Top cabinet officials will continue to press the case for the deal with Gulf allies in person. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is visiting Saudi Arabia next week, and Kerry will travel to the Gulf in early August to present a full briefing on the Iran deal to regional leaders.
Despite his attempts to defend the outcome of the negotiations, the president has faced criticism from members of Congress over the deal, including some in his own party.
"The deal doesn't provide for the anytime, anywhere inspections that we were all talking about," Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, told CBS News' Nancy Cordes the day the deal was struck.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, also knocked the administration for beginning to implement the agreement at the United National Security Council before Congress has had a chance to weigh in.
"I think that the administration should wait till after the Congress has had its review period. I don't know what is lost by delaying," said Cardin, who also spoke about the concerns with Vice President Joe Biden when he visited Senate Democrats Thursday.
Israel, another key American ally in the Middle East, has also condemned the Iran agreement.
"Giving the preeminent terrorist state of our time access to nuclear technology that they will ultimately turn into an arsenal of nuclear weapons and hundreds of billions of dollars to finance their terror machine is bad for everyone," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.
The president has tried to soften the blow of the Iran nuclear deal on Israel by offering Israel "intensive consultations" between national security teams. The president himself has offered the consultations to Netanyahu on "their last few calls," according to a senior administration official, but the Israelis "have made clear privately and publicly that they do not want to engage in this conversation at this juncture."