Iran, Kuwait urge better ties between Tehran and Gulf Arabs

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) : Iran’s president and Kuwait’s foreign minister both appealed on Wednesday for better relation between the Islamic Republic and Gulf Arab countries, Iranian media reported.

According to President Hassan Rouhani’s website, he told visiting Kuwaiti top diplomat Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah that Iran’s foreign policy is aimed at improving “friendly and brotherly” relations with neighboring Muslim countries.

Rouhani also said cooperation was needed to fight terrorism with “unity, integrity and (by) helping” each other.

Iranian state TV reported earlier in the day that al-Sabah said Gulf Arab nations hope ties “with Iran will normalize” and that Iran and the Arab countries should be “regional partners.”

The TV said the foreign minister in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, handed over a message from the Kuwaiti emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, for Rouhani about the “necessity of improving relations.”

The statements reflect efforts by both sides to repair ties between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Oman. The GCC was formed in the early 1980s to confront Iran’s growing influence in the region.

Kuwait recalled its Tehran ambassador in January following attacks by protesters on two Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran, though its embassy is still operating. The missions were attacked after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric in the Sunni kingdom. Riyadh at the time cut diplomatic relations with Tehran.

Iran and most GCC members support opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen.


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