NewsSpecial WireArab states to hold talks with world powers on...

Arab states to hold talks with world powers on Iran

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ImageIran Focus: London, Dec. 15 – Arab states anxious about a change in US policy towards Iran are meeting world powers this week, in an attempt to establish a regular channel of communication over Gulf security that would survive into the next US administration, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Iran Focus

ImageLondon, Dec. 15 – Arab states anxious about a change in US policy towards Iran are meeting world powers this week, in an attempt to establish a regular channel of communication over Gulf security that would survive into the next US administration, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

According to a senior Gulf official, foreign ministers from several Arab states will meet the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Tuesday for a rare discussion about Iran.

The meeting comes amid rising concerns in the Gulf over President-elect Barack Obama’s expected adoption of a policy of unconditional talks with Iran.

Arab states have not had much of a policy towards Iran, beyond complaining that its influence is rising in the region and would become intolerable if it were to acquire nuclear weapons.

While many Arab states want to prevent a military conflict, they also worry about the impact of a US-Iran dialogue, fearing it would legitimise Tehran’s growing role in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the FT wrote.

"We don't want the US to talk to Iran and talk about our region without our involvement", said a senior Gulf official. "So we want to start discussions with the international community now and want this to be established so it is much easier for the next administration to build on".

Some Arab states – Oman for example – are staying away from the New York meeting and are keen not to be seen as promoting an anti-Iranian policy, the FT said.

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