Gulf Cooperation Council ‘reassured’ by Iran nuclear deal

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A coalition of Persian Gulf Arab nations was “reassured” by Secretary of State John Kerry’s explanation of the Iran nuclear deal, the Qatari foreign minister said.

“The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have welcomed … what has been displayed and talked about by His Excellency Mr. Kerry, and he let us know that there’s going to be a kind of live oversight for Iran not to gain or to get any nuclear weapons,” Khalid Bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told reporters Monday while with Kerry in Doha, where Qatar was hosting a GCC meeting with Kerry. “This is reassuring to the region.”

Al-Attiyah also called the deal the “best option amongst other options in order to try to come up with a solution for the nuclear weapons of Iran though dialogue, and this came up as a result of the efforts exerted by the United States of America and its allies. We are sure that all the efforts that have been exerted make this region very secure, very stable.”

The GCC comprises – in addition to Qatar – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.


The cautious endorsement was a coup for Kerry, who has insisted that the region’s Arab nations have accepted the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached July 14 between Iran and six major powers. Al-Attiyah suggested he was speaking for the entire GCC, although in the past, such meetings have been followed by disagreements among members.

Israel’s government vehemently opposes the deal and wants Congress to use its power to kill it by the end of September. Israeli leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have claimed that moderate Arab countries also oppose the deal.

The Obama administration has offered regional powers enhanced security cooperation as it seeks to assuage anxieties in the wake of the deal, which Israel and some of its neighbors see as enhancing Iran’s influence and mischief making in the Middle East.

Kerry at the news conference described enhanced cooperation in missile defense, combating terrorism, and cyber security.

“Today my counterparts and I have discussed the steps that we will take and how we intend to build an even stronger, more enduring and more strategic partnership with particular focus on our cooperative counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and also on our cooperation in countering the destabilizing activities taking place in the region,” he said.

Just prior to arriving in Qatar for the meeting with the GCC, Kerry was in Egypt, where he announced the resumption of the U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue, suspended six years ago in part because of U.S. concerns about Egyptian human rights abuses. The Obama administration last month delivered six F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.

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