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Gulf states say deal could turn ‘new page’ for the region

The United Arab Emirates Tuesday welcomes the historic nuclear deal agreed by world powers and Iran, with an official saying it could turn a “new page” for the Gulf region, AFP reports.

“Iran could play a [significant] role in the region if it revises its policy and stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen,” a UAE official said in the first reaction from the Gulf Arab monarchies to the Vienna accord.

“The new direction we hope to see accompany the historic nuclear deal would demonstrate a genuine desire for Iran to help extinguish fires devouring the region,” the official said.

“This would move the region away from the discord of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism.”

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent cables to Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani congratulating them on the “historic agreement.”

He hoped that the deal “would contribute to strengthen peace and stability in the region and to direct all efforts for the development of the countries in the area.”

The UAE and the Islamic republic are in dispute over three small Gulf islands occupied by Iran, but the Sunni Muslim emirates still have good business relations with their Shiite neighbor.

Like its Gulf Cooperation Council partners, including Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, the UAE has repeatedly expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

A change of path by Tehran would send a “positive signal that would help the region avoid nuclear proliferation and all the risks this would involve for its security and stability,” the Emirati official said.

“Without such a change, we cannot build anything positive, and this will have consequences on the region and its people.”

–AFP

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