Rouhani Seeks to Mend Ties
with Persian Gulf Countries
The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council summit held in Manama in December
asked Kuwait to initiate contacts with Tehran to start a dialogue to
President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Kuwait City on Feb. 15 as part of a
lightning two-nation Persian Gulf tour aimed at mending ties strained by the
conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Rouhani met Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah
al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, who last month launched a dialogue with the
Islamic Republic to normalize ties between Iran and the Persian Gulf states.
Ahead of the
trip to Oman and Kuwait, Rouhani had expressed support for the latter’s
efforts to “resolve misunderstandings and boost relations” with the Persian
“In this trip,
there will be discussions about the region, the situation in Iraq, Syria and
in particular in Yemen,” Rouhani said before launching the tour.
in Kuwait City, Rouhani was welcomed by Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, where the
two discussed bilateral relations and the situation in the region.
always been in favor of resolving problems and disputes through dialogue,”
Rouhani said. “Iran’s military power is only defensive.”
He appealed for
a ceasefire, increased humanitarian aid and political dialogue to resolve
the conflict in Yemen.
Yemenis are in a particularly disastrous situation and we all have to act as
Muslim countries to help this people,” he said.
traditionally maintains good relations with Oman, with which it shares
control of the key Strait of Hormuz shipping lane.
Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah visited Tehran in January, calling for
a “normalization of ties and opening dialogue”.
foreign minister Khaled al-Jarallah said in remarks published in
mid-February that he hoped Rouhani visit would open a dialogue between the
Persian Gulf states and Iran.
Gulf Cooperation Council summit held in Manama in December asked Kuwait to
initiate contacts with Tehran to start a dialogue to improve ties.
30 per cent of native citizens are Shias, has maintained normal relations
with Tehran despite taking part in the Saudi-led military campaign on
Yemen’s Shia Huthi rebels.
Will for Amity
visit to Oman and Kuwait, Iran said it shares a will with the two Persian
Gulf countries to boost mutual friendliness.
“The visits, which took place at a time when the region is in special and
sensitive circumstances, indicate the countries’ common will to expand
friendly ties across the strategic waters of the Persian Gulf,” Foreign
Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on February 16.
Rouhani visited the countries at separate
invitations sent to him by Oman’s Sultan Qaboos and Kuwait’s Emir al-Sabah.
PGCC ties with Iran began to deteriorate last
year amid the confrontational approach taken by the new Saudi rulers against
unilaterally severed its diplomatic ties with Iran last January. It took the
move after protests in front of its diplomatic premises in the Islamic
Republic earlier against its execution of venerable Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr
Qassemi said the Omani Sultan and the Kuwait
Emir have always sought enhanced relations with Iran.
bilateral relations, the two leaders have invariably pursued the creation of
a collective mechanism joining the Islamic Republic and regional countries
in dialog on regional stability and threats as well as common concerns,
including terrorism and extremism.
Rouhani’s Kuwait City trip, the Kuwaiti Emir expressed satisfaction and
delight about Iran’s constructive approach towards efforts to reduce tension
with neighboring Arab states.
importance to Rouhani’s visits, Qassemi said that self-serving efforts by
some extra-regional countries over the past weeks were to alienate Islamic
countries from one another.
“The visits and
the far-reaching reception showed that the extra-regional powers’
provocative policies have backfired,” the official added.
reports emerged that the administration of US President Donald Trump was
encouraging Arab states to join Israel in an anti-Iran alliance.
already warned that such alliance threatens to reverse long-running
diplomatic efforts by various parties at bringing the regional players
visit, the Iranian President was accompanied by an official delegation
including Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad
Nahavandian, Chief of Staff of Presidential Office, Mohammadreza Nematzadeh,
Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, Dr. Valiollah Seif, Governor of
Central Bank of Iran.
Speaking at a
meeting with Sultan Qaboos in Muscat on the first leg of his tour, Rouhani
said the common enemies of Islam and the regional Arab countries have been
propagating Iranophobia while Tehran’s power has always served peace.
always been the harbinger of the settlement of problems and differences
through dialogue, and Iran’s military might is solely defensive and supports
regional security,” Rouhani said.
President stressed that the region’s security could be guaranteed only
through cooperation among regional countries. “Therefore, the regional
countries need to stand by each other and cooperate for the sake of lasting
stability and security in the region,” he added.
and Oman as the “guardians of the Strait of Hormuz,” Rouhani underlined the
two countries’ role in safeguarding the security of the region and the
strategic route for international trade. He also welcomed the expansion of
ties between Iran and other countries of the region.
Iran has come
to the help of regional countries whenever they were entangled in
challenges, including terrorism, and will continue to render assistance to
them if they demand it, he noted.
described Muscat-Tehran relations “friendly and deep-rooted,” and welcomed
the promotion of ties in different sectors, including economy,
transportation, energy and trade.
Muslim Countries Urged to Help Yemen
Touching on the
conflicts in the region, including in Yemen, the Iranian President described
the situation in the impoverished Arab state as “very grave” and called for
serious action to address the issue.
of a ceasefire, delivery of humanitarian aid and intra-Yemeni talks are the
key to ending the crisis in the country, he added.
for his part, welcomed the expansion of ties between his country and Iran in
the political, economic and cultural sectors. He praised Iran’s resolve to
hold amicable ties with its neighbors and promote regional cooperation,
saying such a policy would serve the region’s peace and security. The Omani
ruler added that the countries of the Persian Gulf region had a “prime
responsibility” to restore regional security through “consultations.”
Iran Ready to Develop All-Out Ties with Kuwait
meeting with Kuwait’s Emir in Kuwait City, Rouhani stressed that the two
countries have close political ties and that their economic relations must
follow the suit.
“Iran is fully
prepared for the development of all-out ties, including joint investments in
diverse projects, with Kuwait,” he said.
For his part,
Sheikh Sabah stressed that his country is adamant to increase relations with
Iran in all fields.
Kuwait Welcomes Prospects for Iran-PG Cooperation
Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister welcomed prospects for cooperation between
Iran and the Persian Gulf Arab countries to help resolve conflicts in the
between Iran and the Persian Gulf Arab countries would “contribute
effectively to containment of many areas of tension in the region, whether
in Yemen or in Syria or anywhere else in our region,” Kuwait’s state news
agency, KUNA, quoted Jarallah as saying at a reception at Iran’s embassy in
the Arab country.
“This is indeed what we are looking for,” the Kuwaiti official added, noting
that dialogue would serve the interests of both Iran and the Persian Gulf
The senior Kuwaiti diplomat made the comments in response to Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments on the country’s relations with
regional states, including those in the Persian Gulf region.