Gulf Arab States to Kerry: Iran Should Not Meddle in Our Affairs

The deal reached between Iran and U.S.-led world powers should lead to cooperation with the Islamic Republic and stability in the region, Sunni Gulf Arab states told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, adding that they do not want Iran to meddle with the internal affairs of their neighbors.

Kerry discussed the merits of the Iran nuclear deal with the six nations of the Sunni Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) during a meeting in Doha, Qatar, on Monday, notes Reuters.

The U.S. Secretary of State is also expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir at a trilateral gathering in Doha that U.S. officials reportedly say will focus on the Syrian conflict.

Last month, Kerry said that when he meets with Lavrov, he planned to bring up the role Iran could play in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, speaking for the GCC as host of Monday’s gathering, reportedly said:

We look forward with hope to the nuclear agreement … leading to the preservation of security and stability in the region, and we emphasize the importance of cooperation with Iran based on principles of good neighborliness, non-interference in internal affairs and solving disputes peacefully.

The alliance wants to protect the region “from any dangers and threat from nuclear weapons,” noted Attiyah, adding that this should be done by allowing the peaceful use of nuclear technology in line with international norms.

Most Sunni Gulf Arab states have expressed concerns that Iran’s July 14 nuclear agreement with the U.S. and other world powers will precipitate the thawing of strained relations between Tehran and Washington and encourage the Islamic Republic to back nefarious allies in the regions.

On July 14, five world powers led by the U.S. agreed to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for commitments to curb its nuclear program, which the West suspects was aimed at developing nuclear weapons, something that Iran denies, claiming it is for peaceful energy only.

“There can be absolutely no question that if the Vienna plan is fully implemented, it will make Egypt and all the countries of this region safer than they otherwise would be or were,” Kerry said in Egypt, acknowledging that the U.S. has designated Iran as the number-one state sponsor of terror.

He added that this was precisely why it was necessary to ensure that Iran did not develop a nuclear arm.

Kerry said the international community would have the opportunity to ensure long-lasting security of the region in the Qatari capital, Doha.

In Doha, the U.S. Ssecretary of State was expected to meet with officials from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.

Regarding the upcoming talks between Kerry and Russian counterpart Lavrov, Reuters reports that “Russia has been trying to bring about rapprochement between the Syrian government and regional states, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey to forge an alliance to fight Islamic State militants who have taken large amounts of territory in Syria’s civil war.”

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote an article published in several Arab newspapers to coincide with the talks, urging Gulf countries to work with Iran to counter a wave on instability in the Middle East,” adds the report.

Nevertheless, Iran and Saudi Arabia remain regional enemies.


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