Gulf states want Iran deal talks to address Tehran’s missiles program, support for proxy groups
The Gulf Cooperation Council’s statement on Wednesday echoed similar demands from members of Congress.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)
Al-Monitor Staff
TOPICS COVERED
Armed Militias and Extremist Groups
Defense/Security cooperation
GCC Relations
Iran Deal
Iran-US tensions
Yemen war
June 16, 2021
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Wednesday that the ongoing talks on Iran’s nuclear program should include deliberations on Iran’s missiles program and support for proxy groups in the Middle East. The council also asked to be part of the negotiations. 
The foreign ministers of the GCC member states said any nuclear deal with Iran must account for Iran’s policies in the region. 
“The Ministerial Council warned of the danger of separating between the ramifications of a nuclear agreement with Iran and its disruptive activities to the stability in the region,” the ministers said. 
The GCC released a lengthy statement summarizing its meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The statement was in response to the indirect talks occurring in Vienna between Iran and the Biden administration on Tehran’s nuclear program. The two are negotiating a possible US return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which removed international sanctions on Iran in exchange for the Islamic Republic scaling down its nuclear program. The United States under President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord in 2018 and Iran is no longer in compliance with its stipulations. The remaining European and Asian parties to the deal are mediating the negotiations. 
The GCC said the negotiations need to encompass more than Iran’s nuclear program. They specifically mentioned Iran’s “sponsorship of terrorist and sectarian militias,” its missile program and Iran’s alleged “threats to international shipping lanes.” The GCC also demanded to be part of any international negotiations with Iran and repeated its opposition to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. 
The “sectarian militias” refers to Iran’s support for paramilitary groups in the Middle East, including the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are fighting a Saudi-led military coalition, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Most of Iran’s allies are Shiite Muslim organizations. The shipping reference is about several maritime security incidents in the Persian Gulf in the past year involving Iran. The Gulf and the United States are also concerned about Iran’s ballistics missiles program
Arab states in the Gulf have long been concerned about Iran’s policies in the region. Last year, the GCC asked the United Nations to extend a weapons embargo on Iran. 
Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular have a deep rivalry. The two regional powers back opposite sides in the Yemeni civil war, and Riyadh is also concerned about Iranian influence in the Shiite community in eastern Saudi Arabia, among other issues. Iran and Saudi Arabia have participated in talks to ease tensions hosted in Iraq this year, however. 
 
MORE FROM AL-MONITOR STAFF
Tunisia's president names new interior minister as critics slam 'coup'
Al-Monitor Staff | Tunisia | Jul 30, 2021
Two reported dead in attack on Israeli-operated ship near Oman
Al-Monitor Staff | Iran | Jul 30, 2021
Poll finds Americans split on Biden's handling of Gaza war
Al-Monitor Staff | News Brief | Jul 30, 2021
POPULAR ARTICLES
4,000-year-old city discovered in Iraq
Adnan Abu Zeed | Iraq | Jul 9, 2021
Saudi Arabia’s race for Gulf economic leadership takes to the sky
Sebastian Castelier | Gulf | Jul 13, 2021
Ancient fossilized fish found in Egypt that survived in hot waters
Alaa Omran | Culture | Jun 16, 2021
Will Turkey use Syrian mercenaries in Kabul?
Fehim Tastekin | Turkey | Jul 12, 2021
Has Israel’s army become too small?
Ben Caspit | Israel | Jul 13, 2021
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
Oil prices fall after OPEC+ raises production limits
Al-Monitor Staff | Gulf Pulse | Jul 20, 2021
Houthis unmoved so far by US diplomacy to end Yemen war
A correspondent in Yemen | Gulf Pulse | Jul 8, 2021
Can Oman help mediate peace in Yemen?
A correspondent in Yemen | Gulf Pulse | Jun 23, 2021
Qatar's emir hosts Venezuelan vice president for official visit
Al-Monitor Staff | Gulf Pulse | Jun 16, 2021
RECENT PODCASTS
Nile Dam talks may be ‘in a lot of trouble,’ says Samuel Ramani
NSO officials comment on Pegasus spyware affair: We are self-regulated on right for privacy, transparency  
Ali Hashem on what to expect from Ebrahim Raisi and the rise of the Hezbollahis in Iran
Major General Noam Tibon: IDF needs more boots on the ground 
South Asia security expert Ayesha Siddiqa says Turkey is a natural fit for Afghanistan 
NEWSLETTERS
Subscribe
© 2021 Al-Monitor, LLC. All rights reserved.