World Bulletin / News Desk
Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah said Wednesday that dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran was aimed at containing regional tension.
"Dialogue serves the interests of Iran, the Gulf and the entire region," al-Jarallah told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony marking Iran’s National Day at the Iranian embassy in Kuwait.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said earlier that Tehran was ready to hold dialogue with GCC countries, especially regarding developments in Syria and Yemen.
"Dialogue will help ease tension in the region, be it in Yemen, Syria or elsewhere," al-Jarallah said.
In a landmark visit last month, Kuwait’s foreign minister went to Tehran to deliver a message from Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani regarding the importance of Gulf-Iranian relations.
GCC member states often accuse Iran of meddling in their internal affairs -- claims denied by Tehran.
At a December GCC summit held in Bahrain, the six-nation Gulf council tasked Kuwait with holding dialogue with Iran on its behalf.
The Gulf States fear that Tehran’s nuclear energy program poses a threat to regional security. Tehran, for its part, says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature.
Tension has mounted between the Gulf and Iran since Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran early last year after two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by Iranian protesters.
The attacks on the missions were prompted by Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute prominent Shia cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies also accuse Tehran of arming and supporting Yemen’s Shia Houthi group, which overran Yemeni capital Sanaa -- and other parts of the country -- in 2014.
The six-year-old conflict in Syria has also contributed to the deterioration of Arab-Iranian relations.
While Shia Iran is a close ally of Syria’s Assad regime, Saudi Arabia is a primary backer of Syria’s anti-regime armed opposition.
Along with Saudi Arabia, the GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar.