Persian Gulf States Urged to Change Tack

Persian Gulf States Urged to Change TackPersian Gulf States Urged to Change Tack

Former diplomat Seyyed Hossein Mousavian has urged the Arab League and the Persian Gulf Arab states to change their policies toward Iran and accept the realities of the ground when it comes to Tehran's negotiations with the major powers over its nuclear program.

Speaking on Sunday in a "Strategic Dialogue" seminar held in Abu Dhabi, Mousavian said, "When I sit with Arab friends in the region they say they are opposed to sanctions against Iran and are in favor of a peaceful resolution of Iran's nuclear issue," IRNA quoted him as saying.

The former top nuclear negotiator (2003-2005) and now a research scholar at Princeton University in the United States added, “In contrast, whenever I meet friends in Europe and the United States they tell us that our Arab neighbors are exerting greater pressure on us even more than Israel to prevent any relaxation of sanctions and keep up pressure on Iran."

"Iranians are now feeling that our Arab neighbors are acting in concert with Tel Aviv regarding nuclear negotiations," he regretted. Israel has been seeking to block any possible deal between Iran and its negotiating partners over the country's nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called for more pressure on Tehran and described the landmark interim nuclear deal Iran and the major powers reached in Geneva last year as a "historic mistake".

  Nuclear Deal Beneficial to Region

Mousavian advised the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) and Arab states to change their policies and support a nuclear deal between Iran and the major powers. Iran and its negotiating partners are trying to build on the Geneva accord to hammer out a long-term settlement to the nuclear dispute. The former negotiator said, "Such an agreement could both help improve relations between Iran and its Arab neighbors as well as Iran and the United States and in the long run benefit the region and the international community." He called on the Arab countries "to change their traditional way of thinking about Iran" and look at Iran's power, influence, and capabilities as "a capital" rather than "a threat", adding, "Such a capital can be employed for better regional cooperation."

The comments were partly in response to the recent anti-Iran remarks by UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash. The Arabic-language daily newspaper Al-Balad quoted the UAE official as saying on Sunday that Iran's "rising influence" and "interference" in Arab countries threaten its relations with Persian Gulf states.

  Collective Resolve   

Mousavian also touched on the regional crises and advances of Islamic States (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria and emphasized the necessity of promoting regional cooperation and preventing the interference of foreign powers. He criticized the US-led coalition and bombing campaign against Islamic State militants and said, "With such a strategy not only will IS prevail in the region, but Washington and its allies will soon be beaten." In this region we are faced with fallen Arab governments, sectarian strife, emergence of terrorism, and broken countries, which all can threaten to turn our region into a failed one," he warned.  Mousavian, in conclusion, called for a "collective resolve" among regional nations to overcome the challenges.