A top official in Iran said on Tuesday that Gulf Arab states should seize the opportunity that Hassan Rouhani the President of Iran is visiting Kuwait and Oman to improve ties, by warning that a chance of this magnitude passes very quickly.
Rouhani is scheduled to visit both Kuwait and Oman Wednesday, which will mark the first visit by Rouhani to the two Gulf States since he took power back in 2013.
The six Gulf Cooperation Council Arab member states, in particular Saudi Arabia, have accused Iran of the use of sectarianism as a way to interfere in other Arab nations and to build an Iranian sphere of influence across the Middle East. Those accusations have been denied by Iran.
Rouhani’s initiative in the region to accept invitations from the leaders of Kuwait and Oman signals a need to have Islamic friendship as well as restore regional ties, said the deputy chief of staff for the Iran president Hamid Aboutalebi.
This move by Rouhani is a big opportunity that regional friends should take advantage of as the opportunity comes and goes like a cloud, added the deputy chief of staff.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia cut their diplomatic relations in January 2016 with Iran after Tehran protesters torched the embassy of Saudi Arabia.
The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait recalled envoys at that time to show solidarity with the Saudis. However, Oman’s response was just expressing regret about the attack, which highlighted its better relations with the Islamic Republic.
Oman has resisted the efforts of the Gulf Arab states on a regular basis to close ranks on Iran. It helped mediate secret talks between the U.S. and Iran during 2013 that helped reach a nuclear deal between the two and other world powers in 2015.
The foreign minister of Kuwait made a rare visit to Iran in late January delivering Rouhani a message about opening a dialogue between Iran and the Gulf Arab states.
Rouhani at that time said Kuwait was amongst 10 or more countries that offered to help mediate the escalating feud between Iran and the Saudis.
Rouhani will meet with Sultan Qaboos from Oman on Wednesday in Muscat prior to visiting Kuwait after an invitation by Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah its ruler.
The topics to be discussed on the one-day trip will be bilateral cooperation in the region amongst other issues.