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GCC dismisses reports of meeting with Iran

GCC dismisses reports of meeting with Iran

The confirmation comes after reports emerged that both the GCC and Iran are planning talks on September 22

Gulf Cooperation Council officials have dismissed reports of a possible meeting with Iran later this year.

Earlier this week, local media reported that the GCC and Iran have planned a meeting on September 22 –first since Iran reached an agreement on its nuclear programme with six global nations in July this year.

But a report by Saudi Arabia-based Arab News quoted officials negating such reports.

“No meeting has been scheduled,” the GCC’s assistant secretary-general for negotiations and settlements Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg was quoted as saying. Another diplomatic source confirmed that the GCC is not planning a dialogue with Iran, Arab News said.

Although publicly gracious about the deal, most Gulf Arab states are deeply suspicious of Iran’s motives in the region, often accusing the Islamic republic of meddling in their internal affairs. They are also privately concerned that the removal of sanctions will give Tehran more funds to support Shi’ite groups and cause sectarian rife across the region.

Recently Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Iran of making threats to the fellow Gulf country Bahrain. The statement came after Bahrain’s security forces foiled an arms smuggling plot by two nationals who had ties to Iran.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are also currently battling a Houthi insurgency in Yemen – a condition they believe has been incited by Tehran.

Despite such reservations from the Gulf countries, the US and Europe have pacified fears of an emboldened Iran post the deal.

In a recent visit to the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that the deal would only make the region safer as it would help the GCC states ascertain that Iran did not attain a nuclear weapon. He added that the US and its Gulf Arab allies are also prepared to deal with the situation if Iran did not keep its end of the bargain.

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