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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

UAE backs US offer of talks with Iran on nuclear and missile treaty

Dr Anwar Gargash calls for Arab Gulf states to be party to any negotiations

Dr Anwar Gargash has backed a US proposal for talks on a nuclear and missile treaty. Reuters
Dr Anwar Gargash has backed a US proposal for talks on a nuclear and missile treaty. Reuters

The UAE has called for Arab Gulf states to be party to proposed US negotiations with Iran to on a treaty curb its nuclear and missile programmes.

The top US official for Iran affairs, Brian Hook, said on Wednesday that the United States wanted open negotiations on a treaty with Iran to replace the 2015 nuclear pact which President Donald Trump pulled out of in May.

The idea was endorsed by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash, who called Iran to consider it seriously in the face of renewed sanctions.

"The American remarks with regards to the conclusion of a comprehensive treaty that would control the international concern over Iran’s nuclear and missile programme and its regional interference is important," Dr Gargash tweeted on Thursday.

"It is essential that the Arab Gulf states be part of the proposed negotiations. It would be wiser for Tehran to avoid the sanctions phase and deal seriously with the proposals."

The Arab Gulf allies were not party to the negotiations on the 2015 deal between Iran and the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, but were consulted by their western allies.

Iran's top leadership has rejected US offers for talks, including at the annual UN General Assembly starting in New York next week, after Mr Trump withdrew from the deal.

The US president, who will chair a session on Iran during the General Assembly, said in July that he was willing to meet Iran's leaders "anytime they want".

Brian Hook heads the US State Department's Iran Action Group. AFP
Brian Hook heads the US State Department's Iran Action Group. AFP

Mr Hook, who heads the State Department's Iran Action Group that formulates US policy towards Tehran, said the US would continue to tighten sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the 2015 pact.

"We have a sanctions regime that is under way, stronger measures are yet to come," he said.

The US in August reimposed restrictions on trade and financial dealings with Iran and will reintroduce restrictions on the Iranian oil sector from November.

Although the other parties to the 2015 pact have said they would stand by the agreement, many large foreign companies have cancelled or suspended operations in Iran for fear of being affected by the US sanctions.

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