UNGA 2021: Arab states deserve role in Iran nuclear talks, UAE says

Khalifa Al Marar says UAE will 'build bridges' when it sits on UN Security Council next year

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UAE Minister of State Khalifa Al Marar on Monday called for Arab Gulf nations to play a bigger role in talks aimed at reviving the nuclear deal with Iran and to address “shortcomings” in the six-year-old accord.

In his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr Al Marar said regional powers should not be excluded from negotiations on the 2015 deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is aimed at limiting Iran's development of nuclear technology but not its conventional arms programmes.

“Reaching a common understanding with Iran, which addresses all regional and international concerns, remains a fundamental requirement and should start with de-escalation to achieve regional and international peace and stability,” Mr Al Marar said.

“We cannot ignore Iran's development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes as well as its interference in the region. Therefore, any future agreement with Iran must address the shortcomings of the JCPOA and must involve the countries of the region.”

He said this was “a legitimate and fair request by countries that seek to protect their security and peoples".

Indirect talks between Iran and the US in Vienna over reviving the nuclear deal have stalled as Washington awaits the next move by Iran's new conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi, who was elected in June.

US President Joe Biden says he wants to rejoin a pact that his predecessor, Donald Trump, unilaterally pulled out of in 2018, reimposing sanctions that have destroyed Iran’s economy.

Gulf states complained of being sidelined when then-president Barack Obama negotiated the 2015 accord with Iran, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, trading sanctions relief for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“We will continue to call on Iran to respect international law, the principles of good neighbourliness and to resolve disputes through peaceful means,” Mr Al Marar said.

In his address, Mr Al Marar also said Expo 2020, which opens in Dubai on Friday, was a cause for “hope and optimism” and that the UAE would play a constructive role when it took a two-year seat on the UN Security Council in January.

“My country will use its experience, expertise and proven approach to build bridges for co-operation,” he said.

The UAE will use its seat to help tackle “extremism, terrorism, regional crises, combating epidemics, climate change as well as addressing women and youth issues and strengthening their role in achieving security and peace”, he said.

Updated: September 28th 2021, 5:25 AM