Gulf States worried about US-Iran rapprochement

Fears arise that the recent overtures may allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons and consolidate its regional position.

A group of Arab men talking 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A group of Arab men talking 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Gulf States are worried that the headline grabbing done recently could signal that a US-Iran rapprochement is on the way that may allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons and consolidate its regional position.
Gulf leaders have been quiet, not wanting to show any public worry, but their press has revealed concern behind the scenes.
However, some dismissed the chances of a deal, while others put on a strong face, welcoming one that could weaken Iran’s position in Syria.
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, writing in the London based Al-Hayat, stated, “we panic” when signs of reconciliation between the US and Iran appear. He then sought to boost the low morale prevailing in the Gulf saying, “we all need psychotherapy sessions and courses in real political science so we can recover our self-confidence and see that we are stronger than we think.”
Khashoggi then went on to quote Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former ambassador to the US and the current head of Saudi intelligence, who called Iran a paper tiger.
Abdul Rahman al-Rashed, in an article on Saturday in the Saudi-backed Arab daily Asharq Alawsat, stated bluntly, “But what was really worrying in [US President Barack] Obama’s speech and [current] policy is his position regarding Iran.”
Echoing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and others that are pessimistic regarding Iran’s intentions, he said that Iran continues to play for time so that it can achieve a nuclear weapon.
“But the question is: how much time do they still need before acquiring this capability? A year or two? [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani said that he needs a year to find a solution for Iran’s nuclear project, but why would he need all this time?” asked Rashed.
Taking an honorable stance, without showing any fear, Gulf News, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, published an editorial on Sunday stating that a deal could be “a chance to end the bloodshed in Syria,” pointing out that an Iranian nuclear program under international supervision would be welcomed.
Reflecting the opinion that a deal is not in the offing any time soon, Raghida Dergham, writing in Al-Hayat stated that such a “bargain” is not likely just as the Iranian president did not even agree to shake the US president’s hand.
Basking in Iran’s recent success in not only putting off a US attack on its ally Syria, but also in creating an opening for thawing of relations and the end of sanctions, the Iranian press have presented Gulf States as the losers.
Iranian Press TV ran an article titled, “Failed policies make Saudi Arabia isolated.”
“The Saudi regime has been one of the clear losers of the recent developments in the Middle East,” the article stated.
The Russian-American deal, which took a US attack off the table, let down the Saudis who were counting on the attack to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, it said. In addition, the Saudis were counting on the US to “deal forcefully with the Iranian nuclear issue.”