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Blinken defends Iran prisoner swap at meeting with Gulf counterparts

The US secretary of state also touted the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, seen as competition to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, ahead of the discussion with Gulf Cooperation Council member states.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends breakfast with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on September 18, 2023 in New York.

NEW YORK — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked Oman and Qatar for their help in securing the release of five Americans from Iran following a meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday, while also defending the deal.

Blinken met with the foreign ministers of GCC member states. The GCC consists of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. The meeting occurred on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Blinken met with his GCC counterparts as five Americans were en route to Doha, the capital of Qatar, as part of a prisoner swap with Iran. The Americans were scheduled to fly to the United States following the stop in Doha.

In remarks to reporters afterward, Blinken said the discussion did not focus on the deal.

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