Rowhani extends hand to GCC

 14 Mar 2014 - 4:25

Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said walks with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani as Rouhani leaves Muscat after a visit

MUSCAT: Iranian President Hassan Rowhani yesterday sought to mend fences between his country and Gulf nations distrustful of Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and support of the Syrian regime. 
Rowhani, winding up a two-day visit to Oman, said Iran offered “a hand of fraternity to all the countries of the region. 
“Relations with one country should not grow at the expense of another. We want to see the countries of the region live in peace, understanding and friendship,” he told a business gathering. 
Oman maintains strong links with Iran but other members of the GCC have cool relations with Tehran. 
Iran’s Arab neighbours have expressed concern about the reliability of its nuclear power plant at Bushehr in the southern Gulf and the risk of radioactive leaks should it be hit by a major earthquake.
Like world powers, they also fear a possible military dimension to the nuclear drive, despite assertions by Iran that its atomic ambitions are peaceful.
Ties between Gulf countries and Iran have also been strained by Tehran’s backing of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s regime in its battle against rebels supported by Arab countries.
“Cooperation and rapprochement would benefit the whole region,” said Rowhani, adding his country is “open to investors from the region, especially Omanis”.
In a meeting with university professors, he denounced “terrorism” and called for dialogue to coordinate the fight against it.
“All differences can be resolved through dialogue,” he said, pointing out that talks had helped end the deadlock in Iran’s nuclear negotiations with Western countries.
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also made fresh overtures to the GCC countries.
“Our message to the other countries of the Gulf is a message of friendship, fraternity and cooperation,” Zarif said. 
“Iran is ready for strong and fraternal relations with all the states of the region,” said Zarif, who has embarked on a charm offensive towards the Gulf since Rowhani became President in August.  In December, Zarif visited Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE and is yet to tour Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Agencies