Kerry in Qatar to discuss Iran deal

US secretary of state arrives in Doha to reassure Gulf countries over Iran nuclear deal

In order to calm the concerns of Arab Gulf countries, US Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived in Qatar’s Doha to discuss the Iran nuclear deal with one of the most important US allies in the region.

After an important weekend visit to Egypt, Kerry arrived in Doha on Sunday evening.

Kerry sought to assure his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry as well as Egyptian President and former army general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that the Iran nuclear deal would bring more security and economic prosperity to the Middle East. Talks of the same nature are expected to take place in Doha where Kerry will meet his six counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on Monday.

The GCC comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

A three-way meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir will be held on the sidelines of the Doha talks.

"This is an opportunity, really, for the secretary to do a deep dive with the GCC foreign ministers to try to respond to any remaining questions that they might have and hopefully to satisfy them and ensure that they're supporting our effort going forward," a US State Department official said.

"There can be absolutely no question that if the Vienna plan is fully implemented, it will make Egypt and all the countries of this region safer than they otherwise would be or were," Kerry said during a joint news conference with Shoukry regarding the landmark nuclear deal.

Major US allies in the Middle East, including Egypt and the Gulf countries, have been skeptical of the Iran nuclear deal. Due to this Kerry, along with the Pentagon chief Ashton Carter, have embarked on Middle East tours in an attempt to allay concerns. Carter visited Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq in late July. He also discussed and visited bases belonging to the joint military forces battling ISIS.

"Iran is engaged in destabilising activities in the region - and that is why it is so important to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme remains wholly peaceful," said Kerry in the Cairo press conference.

"If Iran is destabilising, it is far, far better to have an Iran that doesn't have a nuclear weapon than one that does," he added.

In a live televised feed on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the July 14 nuclear agreement sealed in Vienna creates better prospects for faster solutions in Syria and Yemen, two of the Middle East's worst conflict zones in which Iran is involved.

Iran backs the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria and is aiding the Houthi rebels in Yemen battling the country’s government and its Saudi-led coalition allies.

"The final solution in Yemen is political, in Syria the final solution is political," said Rouhani. "The agreement will create a new atmosphere. The climate will be easier."

TRTWorld and agencies