Coalition of Arab nations says Kerry ‘reassuring’ on Iran nuclear deal


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

Khalid Bin Mohammed al-Attiyah told reporters Monday in Doha, where Qatar was hosting a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting with Kerry, that the council’s members “welcomed what has been displayed and talked about” by Kerry. Al-Attiyah said the secretary of state “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. 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 to make this region very secure, very stable.”

In addition to Qatar, the Gulf Cooperation Council includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Al-Attiyah suggested that he was speaking for the entire council, although in the past, such meetings have been followed by disagreements among members.

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.

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 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 cybersecurity.

“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, Kerry was in Egypt, where he announced the resumption of the U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue,which was  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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