Visiting the Gulf States, Kerry aims to soothe concerns about Iran nuclear deal

Barack Obama, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalif, Sayyid Fahad Bin Mahmood Al Said, Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, Abdul Latif Bin Rashid Al Zayani

US President Barack Obama with the GCC delegates at Camp David. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In an effort to ease apprehension over the Iran nuclear deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with ministers of the Gulf states to discuss methods of cooperation in areas of defense. 

By: Lauren Calin, World Israel News

US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states Monday in Doha to discuss the Iran nuclear deal. Like Israel, the Arab Gulf states are threatened by Iran’s regional ambitions, including Tehran’s intervention on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria and its support of Shiite terrorist groups.

Kerry will be arriving from Egypt, where he reinstated bilateral security cooperation in order to fight the Islamic State.

His visit to Qatar is a follow-up to the summit held by President Barack Obama with GCC leaders at Camp David during negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran. In addition to discussing details of the nuclear agreement, Kerry will be looking for ways to “cooperate with our partners in areas like cyber security, ballistic missile defense, also some of the training initiatives that we’re undertaking, and an interest in seeing how we can expedite the delivery of critical foreign military items,” according to a senior State Department official.

John Kerry with Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry. (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. (Brendan Smialowski/AP)

“The United States and Egypt recognize that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities in the region, and that is why it is so important to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remains wholly peaceful,” Kerry said at a press conference with the Egyptian foreign minister on Sunday. “It is also why I will leave this evening to consult with the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers in Doha, where we will discuss ways to ensure the future security of the region.”

Kerry is also scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in order to discuss the situation in Syria.

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Iran is a threat to the Arab Gulf states through its support of the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shiite militias in Iraq. The Arab states also accuse Iran of instigating civil strife among the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia and the Shiite majority in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular have stepped up their purchases of fighter jets and anti-missile defense systems in response to the Iranian nuclear program.