Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Kuwait on Sunday on a regional tour that also includes Qatar and Iraq, urged Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbours to cooperate against the common threat of “terrorism, extremism and sectarianism”.
“The timing of the announcement is an attempt to prevent any progress in cooperation between Iran and other Gulf states”.
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah (R) receiving Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) in Kuwait City upon his arrival for a Gulf tour.
Bahrain said it detained two men accused of trying to smuggle weapons from Iran, with which the small Gulf kingdom has strained relations.
Manama also withdrew its ambassador to Tehran after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the nuclear deal Tehran agreed with world powers would not alter its support for the governments of Syria and Iraq, nor its backing for “oppressed people” in Yemen and Bahrain, and the Palestinians. “I openly say the (Bahraini) claims are totally wrong”, he said.
Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia have been quick to voice concern about the agreement, which will see a progressive easing of global sanctions on Iran in place since 2006.
During his five-day visit to the three regional states, Zarif will meet with the officials of the countries to discuss the results of the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers. He was due to go to Iraq next.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Hassan Ghashghavi downplayed the ambassador’s recall.
“If it wasn’t for Iran, Erbil and Baghdad would have also fallen to the terrorists [of ISIS]…”
Under this new accord that was reached earlier this month in Vienna, Iran will have to follow long-term curbs to its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions placed by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.
Echoing that message in a speech earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on a visit to Iran’s Kurdistan Province: “The Iranian nation supports all oppressed nations”. “Just as we defended Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah (in Iraqi Kurdistan), if any country in the whole region is a victim of aggression, the Iranian nation will defend the oppressed”, Rouhani added.