Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat-An official Gulf source has told Asharq Al-Awsat that three Gulf countries informed Qatar that they would lower the level of their representation at the upcoming Arab summit in Doha “to the lowest level” if the Qatari chairmanship invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to attend the summit meetings.
The Gulf source said “these countries informed Qatar frankly of their reservations about a third invitation to the Iranian president to attend the Arab meetings.” Qatar invited Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s summit held in Doha in December 2007 and repeated the invitation to the extraordinary summit for Gaza which Doha hosted with a limited Arab presence.
According to the source, the Gulf representation would be lowered “from the highest to the lowest levels if Doha invited Ahmadinejad to the summit. The Gulf countries are clear about this issue. Iran’s presence means continued acceptance of its interference in internal Arab affairs.” The source added that there is a Gulf move to use any Gulf relations with Iran to serve the Gulf and Arab stands “without this meaning that these relations should be exploited so as to allow Iran to continue its provocative policy towards the Gulf countries through its interference in their internal affairs.”
Tension broke out in Gulf-Iranian relations during the month of February following Iranian statements demanding Bahrain as Iran’s 14th province. The Iranian government absolved itself of these statements and the foreign ministers of Bahrain and Iran announced that the dossier was closed. These Iranian statements prompted Morocco to sever its relations with Iran after Rabat denounced them.