Arab nations and Iran should start talks to solve tension, Jordan’s foreign minister says

Iran's expansion of nuclear programme raised as ministers from Germany, Sweden, Japan and other countries meet in Jordan

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during his joint news conference in Amman, Jordan, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.   Amman is virtually hosing the third ministerial meeting for the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament and the Non-Proliferation Treaty.(AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

Arab countries and Iran should begin talks to reduce tensions, Jordan’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Ayman Safadi said the entire Arab world wants good and neighbourly ties with Iran.

“To reach that point there has to be a frank, practical and transparent discussion,” Mr Safadi said.

Mr Safadi was speaking alongside German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Amman.

Mr Maas and Ms Linde were in Amman for a meeting on disarmament with representatives from the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Two days earlier, Tehran had announced another breach to the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers with plans to enrich uranium to 20 per cent.

Mr Safadi said Jordan was in favour of “launching a dialogue to solve tensions with Iran relating to the nuclear side", and for the region to be represented.

“We have to deal with other issues related to the Iranian interference in Arab affairs,” he said.

Mr Safadi said Iran’s ballistic missile programme should also be raised.

Jordan usually refrains from direct criticism of Iran, with which it has open channels of communication.

But authorities are opposed to the expansion of Iranian influence in the region.

Mr Maas said Iran’s uranium enrichment announcement was a “grave mistake”.

The US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Iran, despite opposition from Germany and other European players.

Washington said it pulled out because of Iran’s regional belligerence and development of ballistic missiles with significant reach.

Iran started gradual breaches of the accord last year as part of a policy to resist the US pressure.

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