Washington: The US is open to dialogue with Iran even as Washington enforces sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.
Iran remains a threat to international peace and security, Hook said in Doha. It’s widely known that Iran was behind the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities in September, and the Saudi government at some point will present evidence of Iran’s complicity to the United Nations Security Council, he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also in the Qatari capital, though he has no permission from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to talk with Americans, Hook said.
The US has imposed sanctions on Iran for what it considers the country’s aggressive and destabilising policies in the region, such as the proxy war with US ally Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Iran denies responsibility for the September 14 aerial strikes on Saudi installations.
Widespread protests in Iran in recent weeks are “anti-regime” in nature even if they aren’t evidence of pro-US sentiment, Hook said. US sanctions do not restrict imports of medical supplies into Iran and are not causing a humanitarian crisis there, he said.
Hook also said he sees a positive trend among Arab nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council over the healing of a rift over Qatar. The US is hopeful of a reconciliation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain - which severed diplomatic and economic ties with Doha over its support for pro-Iranian terrorism.
A decision to end the dispute lies with leaders in the GCC, but the US has made it clear that it’s easier to confront Iran if the six-member regional group - which includes Kuwait and Oman - is unified, Hook said.