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(P)GCC Message Bodes Well for Region
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(P)GCC Message Bodes Well for Region

The recent expression of readiness for dialogue by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council could help Iran and its Arab neighbors manage their differences, a lawmaker said.
Jalal Mirzaei added that such an approach would enable them to cooperate on advancing their common interests, which will benefit regional nations.   
The parliamentarian made the statement in a Friday interview with ICANA, referring to a message from the six-member council on the principles of potential joint negotiations with Iran, which was delivered to President Hassan Rouhani by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah last Wednesday. 
Iran and several Persian Gulf Arab states, particularly Saudi Arabia, are at odds over various conflicts in West Asia.
"Our differences about conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen are natural. We should know that we can prevent these differences from turning into tensions, without any need to change our stance," Mirzaei said. 
The MP noted that Iran has always been open to dialogue with its Arab neighbors in recent years, but the (P)GCC, under pressure from some of its members, had shown no interest in such talks with Iran until a few months ago. 
"It it a good sign that Kuwait carried the message, as it has had good relations with Iran traditionally ... and it did not bow to Saudi pressure to cut ties with Tehran [last January]," he said. 
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations with Iran early 2016, using as an excuse the attacks on its diplomatic missions in Iran by protesters angered over the Saudi execution of top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process of law. Several of the kingdom's allies subsequently followed in Riyadh's footsteps and downgraded bilateral ties with Tehran, but Kuwait only recalled its ambassador. 
Mirzaei said Tehran and (P)GCC members have strong shared interests, including support for Palestinians against Israeli occupiers and the fight against terrorism, and closer relations between them could allow broader cooperation on common grounds.  

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