US will not ditch Arab allies for Iran


This was the thrust of the US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, as he spoke from Washington to a select group of journalists across the GCC via a telephonic hook-up on Thursday.

He said, “We are doing nothing with Iran at the expense of our allies in the Gulf and other regional governments. We also want to make sure that they understand what we are doing – as we engage with Iran and discuss various issues related to its nuclear programme.”

In fact, Feltman added, “We are aware that the GCC states and other Arab governments in the region have a rich experience of dealing with Iran and they are advising on what we should be doing and discussing – without cutting down their political and security concerns.”

Commenting on the recent high-profile Geneva talks between the six world powers (collectively known as the P5+1) and Iran, Feltman said, “They have already been described as a ‘constructive beginning’ by US President Barack Obama and hopefully Iran will follow through on its commitments. But if the Iranians do not, I would not like to speculate what might happen.”

In any case, he said, “We want to see a diplomatic solution and it is possible. No one wants a military solution…that is why we are pursuing a policy of constructive dialogue and diplomacy.

Nevertheless, Feltman pointed out, “there are still a lot of questions that Iran has to answer before it can be given a ‘clean chit’. But there are already some promising signs. There may be a need for (some) additional pressure, but what cannot be denied is that Iran now has a real opportunity to re-integrate with the international community by addressing their concerns.”

Also, he said, “We know that Iran’s nuclear programme and the lack of transparency surrounding it has posed some concerns. But what we do not want is that just one issue holds all other issues hostage. We are looking at these problems both individually and collectively. And we are also discussing (various) other issues.”

Iran’s main problem, according to Feltman, is that it has already lost the confidence of the international community.

But now, if it does allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have full access to it newly revealed uranium enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom, it will allay some fears about its controversial nuclear programme in the region and beyond.

On other issues, he said, “We have also started a process of dialogue and diplomacy with Syria and we have an ongoing dialogue with Saudi Arabia regarding security and counter-terrorism issues. ”

And as far as the internal problem of Yemen is concerned, we do want to see a peaceful resolution. But there really is no constructive role for outsiders here and they should not interfere,” Feltman added.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *