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Rouhani Carries ‘Warning’ and ‘Good News’ to Kuwait | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Rouhani attends a meeting in Thailand last October/Reuters

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will arrive on Wednesday to Kuwait on the invitation of its ruler, Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, on his first visit to the Gulf States since taking power in 2013.

Tehran had announced Rouhani would conduct a quick tour which will kick off in Oman before his plane lands in Kuwait – where the Iranian government plans to restore its ties with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

“Rouhani’s regional initiative to accept invitation of leaders of Oman and Kuwait signals the need for Islamic friendship and restoration of regional ties,” Hamid Aboutalebi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted on Tuesday.

“This regional initiative is an opportunity which our regional friends should seize. Opportunity passes like a cloud. Take advantage of the good opportunity,” he added.

In another tweet, Aboutalebi considered Rouhani’s visit as “good news” for an agreement between GCC states on guaranteeing a joint security against terrorism, extremism and violence.

The advisor’s tweets came after Rouhani’s deputy chief of staff for communications, Parviz Esmaeili, was quoted by state-run Press TV as saying that the Iranian president will meet Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Muscat on Wednesday before traveling on to Kuwait on the invitation of its ruler.

Rouhani is visiting Oman while the identity of the new Iranian ambassador to Muscat is still unknown, after the mission of the last ambassador ended.

Since 2015, Iran had praised at several occasions the role Oman played in the mediation of thorny regional issues, such as the Iranian nuclear file. Oman had helped to mediate U.S.-Iran talks that led to a historic nuclear deal signed in Geneva in 2015.

Meanwhile, Iran looks at Rouhani’s visit to Kuwait as a prelude to additional steps that could improve its relations with other GCC countries and could allow Iran to sit with its neighbors to discuss pending disputed issues.

Rouhani’s visit comes when tension prevails on the U.S.-Iranian relations. U.S. President Donald Trump had put Iran “on notice” in reaction to a Jan. 29 Iranian missile test and had imposed sanctions on a new list of individuals and entities linked to Tehran.

At the internal level, Rouhani attaches a great important on easing tensions with Arab neighboring countries, especially with GCC states, particularly in light of his decision to run in the next presidential elections for a second term.