Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Manuchehr Mohammadi, Iranian assistant foreign minister for research, has denied statements attributed to him that a resolution to the Middle East conflicts is contingent on an end to the traditional royal regimes in the Gulf. The statements drew a reaction from a prominent Gulf official early last week.
In exclusive statements to Asharq Al-Awsat that were quoted by the Iranian Embassy in Riyadh, Mohammadi accused some media outlets of incorrectly reporting his speech to mobilization professors at the University of Mashhad City.
Earlier, the semi-official Iranian Mehr News Agency quoted Manuchehr Mohammadi as saying,” The Middle East will remain as a center of developments and crises so long as the royal regimes in the Gulf remain in place, and conflicts will not be resolved without the disappearance of these traditional regimes.” However, the Iranian assistant foreign minister for research denied these statements. In reply to a question as to whether the statements that were attributed to him were true, he said, “A number of the media did not correctly understand my statements.”
Asserting the strategy of Iran’s foreign policy, Manuchehr Mohammadi said that Tehran’s constant and firm line is “to respect nations’ sovereignty and strengthen ties with the neighboring states in the framework of the principle of mutual respect.”
The statements that were attributed to the Iranian assistant foreign minister were met with extreme dissatisfaction by the six Gulf States. Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] Abdul-Rahman al-Atiyah expressed this dissatisfaction by describing these statements as hostile. Earlier, the GCC member states — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman –asked for an official clarification from the Iranian Government on the statements that Mohammadi made in Mashhad.
Nevertheless, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone, a senior official at the GCC General Secretariat said they have not received any clarifications to date. The GCC General Secretariat issued a statement at the end of last week, describing Manuchehr Mohammadi’s remarks on the Gulf regimes as “a hostile and serious statement.”
The first man in charge at the GCC General Secretariat pointed out, “Such suspect statements and others do not help at all in building confidence and respecting the principle of good neighborly ties between the states of the region.”
“Mohammadi’s statements will fuel the conflicts, cause serious crises in the region, and subject the region’s future and security to great harm.” He added.
The escalation between the Gulf States and Iran comes at a time when Iran is subjected to a great Western pressure to halt uranium enrichment. This escalation also coincides with Iranian threats to strike against Western interests in the Gulf region, should Iran come under a military strike by the United States.