Monday, 29 May, 2017

Iran, Arabs Should Unify against Extremism, Zarif says

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Iran’s foreign minister urged Persian Gulf Arab countries to join forces with Tehran to fight against extremism and militancy in the Middle East, AFP reported.

“Any threat to one country is a threat to all… No country can solve regional problems without the help of others,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a news conference in Kuwait.

Zarif arrived in Kuwait on Sunday to begin a three-nation regional tour aimed at deepening ties with Arab neighbors following the conclusion of the Islamic Republic’s historic nuclear deal with world powers.

Saudi Arabia and other Western-allied Arab states lining the Persian Gulf harbor deep suspicions about Iran’s intentions in the region, though they have expressed hope that the nuclear deal will enhance regional security by reducing the chances Iran will acquire an atomic bomb.

Zarif received a red-carpet airport greeting from his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah. He is expected to hold talks later with the ruling emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, who paid his first visit as head of state to Iran last year.

Iran agreed earlier this month to limits on its nuclear program in exchange for broad sanctions relief. The curbs are aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining an atomic bomb, something it denies it is seeking.

After Kuwait, Zarif is scheduled to visit Qatar and Iraq. Iranian state-linked media say he will brief officials in all three countries on the nuclear accord and discuss ways to improve cooperation and fight terrorism.

Iran shares control of a vast underwater natural gas field with Qatar, a wealthy nation rapidly being transformed by its hydrocarbon riches. In Iraq, Tehran has close ties with senior government leaders and Shiite militia groups, and it is playing an active role in fighting Islamic State militants who have seized a third of the country.

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