Russia has warned the international community against unreasonable attempts at escalating Iran’s isolation into a military scenario, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.
“We want calm to return to this region. It is necessary to normalize relations between the Persian Gulf states, and also outside players should avoid fomenting differences,” Lavrov said.
These are objective differences, but it’s a bad sign that they are trying to shift them from an ideological and political perspective to a military angle, he noted. “I hope that the Arab countries [of the Persian Gulf] understand that calls to bring the policy of isolating Iran to a military scenario are risky.”
Lavrov noted that Russia has tirelessly urged for creating a system of security and trust in the region. “We are suggesting particular ideas, which will enable the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Iran to establish contacts between each other, alleviate mutual concerns and ensure transparency on issues of military construction and military drills,” he explained.
These efforts should go hand in hand with the support from outside players, including the League of Arab States, the European Union, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Lavrov stressed.
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, which brings together Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, has serious tensions with Iran on certain regional issues, namely the situation in Yemen and Syria. Riyadh, which supports the Yemeni state forces, believes that Tehran is backing the Houthi rebels and delivering weapons to them. In addition, some regional states are against Iran’s military presence in Syria.
The relations between the Persian Gulf states and Iran worsened in January 2016 when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar severed diplomatic relations with the republic, and the United Arab Emirates downgraded its diplomatic representation in Iran. This happened after demonstrators, who were outraged by the execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric, had attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.Iran frees Lebanese man, U.S. resident imprisoned for spying