Persian Gulf states support ‘verifiable’ Iran n-pact: Obama

Washington : US President Barack Obama has said that the officials of the six Arab Persian Gulf nations with whom he met expressed to him their support for a nuclear agreement with Iran that is “comprehensive and verifiable”, adding that none of them is seeking an endless confrontation with Tehran.

Obama made his remarks at the end of the US-hosted summit attended by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain — all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) — which was held on Thursday at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, Efe news agency reported.

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The president also accepted an invitation from the officials of the six nations to hold another regional summit next year and he gave them an “ironclad commitment” of US support against “external aggression”.

In his brief remarks at the end of the summit, Obama called the meeting “excellent” and expressed the hope that the region would achieve “the kind of peace and good neighbourliness with Iran that I think so many of the countries here seek”.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir confirmed in remarks to reporters that the US and the Gulf nations would hold “another meeting” next year to continue their consultations.

The Sunni leaders from the Persian Gulf states, in particular Saudi Arabia, fear that the nuclear pact being negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 Group group of major world powers — comprising the US, France, Britain, China, Russia plus Germany — will be the prelude for normalising relations between Washington and Tehran.

They are also concerned that the eventual lifting of sanctions on Iran could give Tehran the funds to increase what they consider to be its hostile activities in the region, for instance in countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In a joint communique, the seven countries at the summit committed themselves to work together to counteract the destabilizing activities of Iran in the region.

Obama, in turn, said that the aim of this security cooperation was not to perpetuate any long-term confrontation with Iran or to marginalise that nation.

He said that Washington and the Gulf states welcomed an Iran that played a responsible role in the region, which took concrete and practical steps to build confidence, resolved differences with its neighbours by peaceful means and adhered to international rules and norms.

According to the president, ending tensions in the region and resolving its conflicts will require broader dialogue, one that includes Iran and its GCC neighbours.

The leaders of only two of the Gulf nations — the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar — attended the summit, with the other four Arab nations sending top security and other officials.