Gulf states give cautious consent to Iran nuclear deal
US Secretary of State John Kerry calms concerns about Iran's regional influence

The U.S.’s Gulf Arab allies on Monday gave a cautious welcome to the deal signed with Iran last month to curb its nuclear program.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with officials from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Qatar to soothe fears over the agreement between Iran and world powers to ease sanctions in return for inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.

"This was the best option amongst other options,” Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah said after the Doha meeting.

Qatar, along with fellow GCC members Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, are wary of Iran’s nuclear ambitions as well as the Shia regime’s involvement in neighboring countries such as Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The Sunni-dominated Gulf states fear the relaxation of sanctions will allow Iran to funnel finance into proxy conflicts that would destabilize their countries.

"Our goal is to fully implement this agreement and to hope that Iran’s behavior will be ameliorated,” Kerry said.

He told reporters the nuclear deal signed in Vienna "contributes to the region's long-term security”.

Kerry is due to meet the foreign ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia to talk about the civil war in Syria while he is in Doha. Alongside Iran, Russia is President Bashar al-Assad’s greatest ally while Saudi Arabia opposes his regime.

Pledging support for moderate Syrian opposition, Kerry said there was "no military solution to Syria’s challenges [so] there has to obviously be a political solution. We continue to support the moderate Syrian opposition."

Over the weekend, the U.S. indicated for the first time that it would be willing to use its air power to target Assad’s forces. The U.S.-led coalition has previously only targeted Daesh and other groups such as al-Nusra Front but said it would target any ground forces attacking U.S.-trained fighters in northern Syria.

"The policy of the United States in Syria is very clear... We believe that Assad and the Assad regime long ago lost legitimacy, in part because of his regime’s continued brutality against the Syrian people themselves," Kerry said.

He added that the U.S. and the GCC would continue to assist the Iraqi government in defeating Daesh.

Last Modified: 2015-08-04 09:39:42
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