DOHA, (Agencies) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a summit of Gulf Arab heads of state on Monday that Tehran wanted to create an economic cooperation bloc and a joint security pact with them to promote peace and prosperity.
Ahmadinejad was speaking to a meeting of heads of state of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Doha, Qatar. With tensions running high over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Ahmadinejad was invited to attend the summit this year.
Iranian officials said this was the first time an Iranian president had been invited to a GCC summit. “Naturally I will present new proposals to expand cooperation and ensure regional security and I hope they will be considered by our brothers,” Ahmadinejad told reporters before leaving Tehran for the summit.
Iran regularly calls for a security cooperation pact with Gulf Arab states as the best way of securing the region and ridding it of U.S. forces.
The United Arab Emirates has a long-running row with Iran over the sovereignty of three islands in the Gulf. Kuwait is also trying to resolve a maritime border dispute with the Islamic Republic blocking the development of a gas field.
Ahmadinejad, who regularly rails against the United States, also said of his trip to Qatar: “It seems a new chapter has been opened in the relations between the Persian Gulf States.” “Iran’s definite policy is to promote broad cooperation with all countries, particularly friendly neighbouring countries.”
The United States, which is leading efforts to isolate Iran, accuses it of seeking to build nuclear bombs, a charge Tehran denies. Washington says it is committed to diplomacy to resolve the stand-off but has not ruled out military action if that were to fail.