U.S. officials in West Asia to reassure jittery allies over Iran

Top Biden administration officials and U.S. Senators crisscrossed the West Asia on Monday, seeking to assuage growing unease among Arab partners over America’s re-engagement with Iran and other policy shifts in the region.

The trips come as the U.S. and Iran, through intermediaries in Vienna, discuss a return to Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that former President Donald Trump abandoned three years ago. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies, excluded from Obama-era nuclear negotiations, have repeatedly pressed for a seat at the table, insisting that any return to the accord must address Iran’s ballistic missile programme and support for regional proxies.

Sen. Chris Coons, a key Biden ally, told reporters in Abu Dhabi that he hoped to allay the sheikhdom’s “understandable and legitimate concerns” about the return to the landmark deal and to create “broader engagement” with Gulf partners.

Mr. Coons said “close consultation” with the UAE about the ongoing talks in Vienna was “important, expected and happening,” adding that he hopes the Emiratis “may not just be notified, but actually help.”

“I did not in any way mean to suggest that there was some deal in the works where the Emiratis would be securing anything,” he said. “Vienna is the place where the U.S. government is negotiating.”

Senator Chris Murphy joined the flurry of diplomatic activity in the region this week, jetting to Oman, Qatar and Jordan for dialogue on a political solution to the war in Yemen.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 12:53:59 AM |

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