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Gulf of mistrust mars Kuwaiti initiative for Iran-GCC dialogue

Despite Kuwait’s reported initiative to resolve tension between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council, it appears that the two sides are not yet ready to address the deeper causes of conflict and tension.

When former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Jan. 8, it was thought that his death might be another nail in the coffin of Saudi-Iranian dialogue, and thus usher an era of additional tension between Tehran and its Arab neighbors. Yet a personal condolence letter from Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud to the family of Rafsanjani, followed by a visit of Kuwait’s foreign minister to the Iranian capital Jan. 25, give a different indication.

Indeed, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khaled al-Ahmad al-Sabah came to Tehran with a letter from the emir of Kuwait, Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, on behalf of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), about the necessity of improving relations. On Jan. 26, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah told reporters that the Iranian side showed understanding and readiness to react positively to the letter, saying, “The message and its content focused on laying the foundations for a joint dialogue based on the abstention from interfering in Gulf affairs and respecting the sovereignty of the GCC states and all the UN [Security] Council articles. It will be a breakthrough in the bilateral relations between the Gulf and Iran.”

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