U.S. to defend GCC against any Iranian threat

One of the U.S.’s core interests in the region is the security of its allies in the region, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said

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The United States will defend GCC states against any potential threat from Iran, an advisor to President Barack Obama told Al Arabiya News Channel, adding that GCC security has been the guiding principle for U.S. policy in the region.

One of the U.S.’s core interests in the region is the security of its allies in the region, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, referring to a speech President Barack Obama had given at a U.N. General Assembly two years ago.

“…What he means essentially is if you have a situation where one of our partners like Saudi Arabia is threatened from external aggression let’s say through Iran we will come to their defense,” he explained.

As for the Iran nuclear agreement reached in Lausanne last week, Rhodes said the U.S. will continue to assure its GCC allies that it is a “good deal.”

“We will continue to brief them on the details of the agreement and make clear this imposes very important limitations on the Iranian nuclear program,” he said.

Shortly after the announcement of the agreement, Obama invited GCC states to a summit where he will brief them on how the United States will continue its efforts in maintaining the security of its allies in the region.

“…That will be the purpose of the Camp David Summit the president is going to convene to discuss are there ways we can increase our security relationships to reassure our allies and partners that even if as we had this deal, we are committed to cooperating with them to provide for their security.”

Rhodes anticipated that Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait will attend the summit which is likely to go on for a few days as Obama plans on discussing the “whole environment in the region.”

“He will want to review the Iran deal and he will want to make clear that even as we have an Iran deal in place that…will make the region more secure because it removes the threat of nuclear-armed Iran,” he said.

As to sanctions, Rhodes said that those set with respect to Iran’s nuclear activities would not be lifted.

“We are going to continue sanctions on Iran for terrorism-related activities, for human rights violations, and for ballistic missiles that it pursue,” he said adding that the U.S. is pursuing strategies that would counter the Islamic republic’s “destabilizing actions in the region.”

“What we need are effective strategies to deal with Syria and Yemen and that’s going to require close cooperation with the Gulf,” he added.

Watch Al Arabiya’s full interview with Ben Rhodes, U.S. deputy national security advisor, here.

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