On January 25, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled al Sabah made a rare one-day visit to Tehran and called for a frank dialogue between Iran and its Arab neighbors. He delivered a message to President Hassan Rouhani from his country’s emir, Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, the details of which have not been publicized. The minister said that Iran and Kuwait should find common ground on combating terrorism and boost bilateral ties for the sake of regional security.
Tensions between Sunni Gulf states and Shiite Iran have risen in recent years, especially due to Saudi Arabia’s support for Yemen’s exiled government and Iran’s alleged support for Houthi rebels. Riyadh and Tehran also support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict. Saudi Arabia cut off ties with Iran in January 2016 after demonstrators stormed its embassy in Tehran and consulate in Mashhad to protest the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Several other Gulf states also cut ties or downgraded diplomatic relations with Iran. Kuwait, as well as Oman, however, have shown a willingness to reach out to Iran. The following are excerpted remarks by top Kuwaiti and Iranian officials.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled al Sabah
“Given the common dangers, including terrorism in the region, we should have a look at the future since the regional countries understand their interests better than others.”
—Jan. 25, 2017, in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart
“It's necessary that the differing views and misunderstandings between the countries of the region should come to an end in a calm atmosphere and through frank dialogue.”
—Jan. 25, 2017, according to IRNA
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy is to further develop friendly and brotherly ties with neighboring and Muslim countries based on mutual respect, being neighbors and Islamic brotherhood.”
“Despite being under attack by the enemies after the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has never invaded any country and has proved its role as the most important barrier against aggression and terrorism in the country.”
“There is no doubt that development of the peoples of the region will be beneficial to the entire world’s stability and security.”
“Terrorism is a great threat to the region and we can resist against it through unity, integrity and helping each other.”
—Jan. 25, 2017, in a meeting with the Kuwaiti foreign minister