Rapprochement Possible If (P)GCC Changes Course

Kamal Dehqani FirouzabadiKamal Dehqani Firouzabadi

Closer relations between Iran and its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors are within reach, if members of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council show a change of attitude toward Iran and rectify their approach, a lawmaker said.

Kamal Dehqani Firouzabadi made the statement in a recent interview with ICANA, referring to a recent outreach by the six-member council to Iran led by Kuwait.

Kuwait's Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah announced on Thursday that the country is going to relay a message to Iran from the (P)GCC, noting contacts were underway "with the Iranian brothers to set a proper date to deliver that message."

The Kuwaiti official stopped short of elaborating on the content of the message.

"Countries [bordering the Persian Gulf] have followed a path of divergence in recent years," Firouzabadi said. "But the fault lies not with Tehran. Iran has had a fixed position since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Our constitution gives priority to Iran's foreign policy regarding Muslim and neighboring states. We have always proven our goodwill toward neighbors."

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said on Monday Iran had not yet received any letter from Kuwait, adding that Tehran will immediately respond to such messages. Jarallah had first said on December 16 that Kuwait is in consultations with Iran on behalf of the (P)GCC.

"No date has been set for meetings yet, but the two countries are exchanging messages to inform Tehran of [P]GCC views [regarding bilateral dialogue."

On December 6, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said in his address to the 37th (P)GCC Summit in Manama that there is need for "constructive dialogue" between the council and Iran.

The Kuwaiti ruler said the talks should center on "abidance by international law, including sovereign rights".

  Strategic Mistakes

Firouzabadi said after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, some Arab neighbors took wrong steps, the first and worst of which was their support for former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, in his brutal war against Iran in the 1980s that claimed the lives of almost a million people.

"During the eight years of war, [P]GCC members generously provided Saddam with money and arms ... and this mistake led to Iraq's attack on Kuwait [in 1991]," he said.

At the time, Iran announced its support for Kuwait against the Iraqi occupation. The parliamentarian said such "strategic mistakes of (P)GCC states also happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Lebanon".

"These countries supported terrorists and extremists in the name of assisting Muslims. The Islamic Republic has never made such mistakes," he said.

In recent years, Iran and several Persian Gulf Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, have been at odds over various conflicts in West Asia.

In Syria, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are major supporters of militants fighting to bring down the Syrian government, while Iran provides advisory services to Syrian troops in their anti-terror push.

Tehran has repeatedly called for dialogue among the Persian Gulf states aimed at settling differences, which has been rebuffed by states pinning hope on turning the regional equation in their favor with the help of their foreign allies.

Unfortunately, all such attempts have only spread death, destruction and insecurity in the region.


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