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Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that the countries of the region should be represented in any upcoming talks on the Iranian nuclear programme. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Wednesday that the countries of the region should be represented in any upcoming talks on the Iranian nuclear programme, stressing that the talks should deal with Iran’s interference in the region and its missile programmes.

Safadi said in a joint press conference with the foreign ministers of Germany and Sweden in Amman, which was broadcast live on Jordanian TV channels, “We stressed during our discussions the need to build a Middle East region free of all weapons of mass destruction and the importance of finding a solution to the tension that exists with Iran over the issue of nuclear armament.”

He added, “We in the Kingdom stress the need to resolve tension with Iran in all its aspects, as the region is full of conflicts and does not need new ones. Therefore, we support launching talks with Iran related to the nuclear aspect and the need for the region to be represented in any upcoming talks dealing with this issue.”

“I think that in order to reach a permanent solution to the tension and in order to build regional relations based on cooperation, we must also deal with other issues related to Iranian interference in Arab affairs, and this must stop,” Safadi added.

“We must also address other issues, such as missile programs, etc.,” he said, noting that all these issues “have caused and will cause tension.”

The conference came after the third ministerial meeting of what is known as the “Stockholm Nuclear Disarmament Initiative and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Rapprochement with Iran

In addition to the German and Swedish ministers who came to Amman, the foreign ministers of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Finland, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina, Indonesia, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia participated in the meeting via video conference.

These statements come after the reconciliation announced Tuesday between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on the one hand, and Qatar on the other hand, following a crisis that lasted more than three years. One of the four countries’ shortcomings on Qatar was its rapprochement with Iran.

Some of the Iran nuclear deal’s fiercest opponents are urging President-elect Joe Biden to let them have a say — and maybe even a seat at the negotiating table — in future talks with Tehran.

Some Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain, as well as Israel are raising the idea in the run up to the start of the Biden administration.

The countries argued they have more at stake than the United States or the other countries who crafted the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Bringing them on board, they add, would beef up the US leverage over Iran.

The loosely coordinated Arab-Israeli calls are a reminder of how much the policy landscape has shifted since Biden was Barack Obama’s vice president.

Among other things, some Arab states have recently agreed to recognise Israel, which could give their demands more weight in US foreign policy circles and might allow them to more explicitly join hands in lobbying the White House.