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Gulf expert: Arab states oppose Iran deal but don’t want to show agreement with Israel

ShowImageProtestors shout slogans as they demonstrate with thousands of others during a rally apposing the nuclear deal with Iran in New York. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Obama sought to Isolate Israel as lone voice against Iran deal, but Arabs quietly agree

US President Barack Obama’s statement on Wednesday that all countries that have commented on the Iran deal support it – except for Israel – is misleading. Arab leaders are only being polite in their reticence.

Leaders of the Gulf Arab states have opted for a less confrontational approach with Washington than the strong public opposition exhibited by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.

Instead of voicing their displeasure publicly and directly to the US over its rapprochement with Iran, they have instead chosen to get their message across unofficially through articles in Arab owned-media and by leaking their strong discontent to the Western press.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya TV and former editor-in-chief of the popular Arab daily Asharq Alawsat, wrote a recent article in the Saudi-backed publication stating that the Iran deal “was viewed by some as a rather low move by Washington against its longtime allies in the Gulf, who were loyal for over five decades.”

“As a result, some in the region believe the deal requires that the Gulf states reconsider their relationship with the US,” he said, adding, “This represents the lowest point in the history of the Gulf-US relationship.”

Officially, however, the message was the exact opposite. Gulf Arab states told US Secretary of State John Kerry in talks this week that they supported the deal.

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah, speaking at a news conference after talks between the foreign ministers of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Kerry, said that “we are confident that what they undertook makes this region safer and more stable.”


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