News / Middle East

US Urges Divided Gulf to Unite Against Threats Like Iran

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani speaks as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens during a presser as part of the GCC meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary General Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani speaks as U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens during a presser as part of the GCC meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
Reuters
— The United States on Wednesday urged Saudi Arabia and its Gulf neighbors to unite in confronting common threats such as Iran, even as the Arab states struggle to overcome divisions over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
 
“The most pressing security challenges threaten this region as a whole - and they demand a collective response,” U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during opening remarks of a meeting of defense ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
 
“This approach is how the region must continue to address the threats posed by Iran,” he said.
 
He arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday and met senior Saudi officials including Crown Prince Salman and deputy defense minister Prince Salman bin Sultan.
 
Most of the GCC's six members - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman - are wary of Iranian influence in the Middle East, but their responses vary from barely concealed hostility to diplomatic engagement.
 
However, efforts led by Saudi Arabia, Iran's biggest regional rival, to forge a united front against Tehran have been complicated by an unprecedented rift within the GCC over Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
While the feud prompted Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar in early March, Gulf countries, encouraged by Washington, appear to be seeking to repair ties, and in April agreed on ways to implement a security agreement.
 
On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Price Saud al-Faisal said Riyadh had invited Iran's foreign minister to visit, hinting at a possible thaw between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran, which are at odds over the conflict in Syria and other issues.
 
Saudi officials, like Western powers, suspect Iran is working to develop atomic bomb capability, which Tehran denies.
 
According to Iran's state news agency, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran had not received a written invitation from Saudi Arabia but that a visit between the two nations' foreign ministers was on Iran's agenda.
 
The U.S.-Gulf meeting takes place as negotiators from Iran and six world powers, including the United States, sit down for talks aimed at reaching a final accord by July to settle the standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
 
Hagel said heightened military cooperation could help Gulf states confront not only Iran but militancy and other challenges, suggesting several modest steps to bolster maritime, air and digital defense, such as establishing a joint U.S.-GCC cyber defense initiative.
 
The Obama administration has also been seeking to reassure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries concerned by U.S. overtures to Iran.
 
“While our strong preference is for a diplomatic solution, the United States will remain postured and prepared to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon - and that Iran abides by the terms of any potential agreement,” Hagel said.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid