Gulf states: Nuclear talks should address Iran missile programme

DUBAI: Gulf Arab states have said it would be dangerous to separate global powers’ nuclear deal with Iran from Tehran’s missile programme and “destabilising” behaviour, and reiterated a call that they be included in the dialogue.

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World powers and Iran entered a sixth round of talks in Vienna on Saturday to revive the 2015 nuclear pact which Saudi Arabia and its allies opposed for not tackling their concerns, and which the United States abandoned in 2018.

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Tehran has opposed any attempt to add other issues to the deal, under which it agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions. US President Joe Biden wants to restore the deal abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump.

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Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers urged the powers to secure a deal with stronger restrictions and a longer duration, and to “link it with practical steps to build trust” in order to prevent an arms race and further conflict in the region.

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In a statement following a meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, they said Gulf states should be involved in global negotiations with Tehran and were ready to “cooperate and deal seriously and effectively with the Iranian nuclear file … on the basis of respect for sovereignty and good neighbourliness”.

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The statement stressed “the danger of separating implications of the nuclear deal” from Iran’s missiles programme and support for regional proxies, and urged Tehran to engage seriously with talks and avoid escalations.

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Saudi Arabia and Iran, which severed ties in 2016, began direct talks in Iraq in April aimed at containing tensions.

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