Washington, May 15: President Barack Obama has said it is not in the national interest of the US and Gulf nations to have an open ended conflict with Iran, asserting that they welcome an Iran that plays a responsible role in the region.
Obama said he and the leaders of the Gulf Co-operation Council spent considerable time discussing Iran, during which he apprised them of the negotiations towards a comprehensive deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"None of our nations have an interest in an open-ended conflict with Iran. We welcome an Iran that plays a responsible role in the region, one that takes concrete, practical steps to build trust and resolve its differences with its neighbours by peaceful means and abides by international rules and norms," Obama said yesterday.
"Ending the tensions in the region and resolving its devastating conflicts will require a broader dialogue, one that includes Iran and its GCC neighbours. And so a key purpose of bolstering the capacity of our GCC partners is to ensure that our partners can deal with Iran politically, diplomatically from a position of confidence and strength," he said at his presidential retreat here.
He said, "We agree that a comprehensive, verifiable solution that fully addresses the regional and international concerns about Iran's nuclear program, is in the interests of the international community, including our GCC partners."
"Whether we reach a nuclear deal or not with Iran, we're still going to face a range of threats across the region, including its destabilising activities, as well as the threat from terrorist groups. So, we're going to work together to address these threats and much of the enhanced security cooperation," he said.
The security cooperation is not aimed at perpetuating any long-term confrontation with Iran or at marginalising Iran. During the meeting, Obama's Cabinet members including Secretary of State John Kerry walked through why the US is confident that if the framework agreement were to be solidified, that in fact could verify that they did not have a nuclear weapon.
"There was a concern that I share that even if we deal effectively with the nuclear issue, that we will still have a problem with some of Iran's destabilising activities. And a number of them did express the concern that with additional resources through the reduction in sanctions, that was it possible that Iran would siphon off a lot of these resources into more destabilising activity," Obama added.