Gulf States to reduce summit presence over Iran

Iran not welcomed at Doha Arab summit


Three Gulf countries warned Qatar that they will reduce their level of representation to its minimum at the coming Doha summit if Iran is invited to attend, according to press reports late on Saturday.

A source from the Gulf stated that the three countries expressed to Qatar their reservations about inviting Iran for the third time to attend Arab meetings, the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Saturday.

Qatar invited Iran to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in December 2007 and repeated the invitation in the Gaza urgent summit convened in January 2009 with limited Arab representation.

Iran's presence at the Arab summit scheduled to convene on March 30 would lead the three Gulf countries to move their level of representation from highest to lowest.

Interference in Arab affairs

"Gulf countries are clear on that matter," said the source. "Iran's presence means their consent to its continuous interference in Arab affairs."

The source added that Gulf countries are inclined to make any relations with Iran within the framework that serves Gulf and Arab interests and not a pretext for Iran to "continue its provocative intervention in their internal affairs."

Last February witnessed a strain in the Iranian-Gulf relationships in the aftermath of Iranian statements about Bahrain being a historical part of its territories.

Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iran had sovereignty over Bahrain, according to press reports.

The Iranian government denied the statements and the foreign ministries of the two countries announced closing the file. Meanwhile, Morocco severed diplomatic relations with Iran after condemning the statements.

Iran also criticized the Arab states for not doing enough to stop the Israeli war on Gaza last January, which killed more than 1400 Palestinians and wounded over 5000.

Iran also supports the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is at odds with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Iran's presence means their consent to its continuous interference in Arab affairs

Gulf source