The US and GCC Working Group on Iran condemned a range of aggressive and dangerous Iranian policies, including the proliferation and direct use of advanced ballistic missiles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The weapons have been used by Iran or its proxies in hundreds of attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, according to a statement issued by the US State Department.
Senior US officials and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members convened their Working Group on Iran in Riyadh on November 17, as decided by the US-GCC Foreign Ministerial on September 23.
The Working Group affirmed the longstanding partnership between the US and the members of the GCC and their shared determination to contribute to regional security and stability under the framework of the GCC-US Strategic Partnership.
The US and GCC member states agreed that Iran’s nuclear program is of “grave concern,” as Iran has taken “steps for which it has no civilian need, but that would be important to a nuclear weapons program,” and also called for “Iran to fully cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).”
The Working Group discussed a wide range of regional issues, including the situation in Iraq and Yemen, and agreed that “Iran’s support to armed militias across the region and its ballistic missile program pose a clear threat to regional security and stability.”
They further agreed to hold subsequent meetings to discuss these and other issues within its terms of reference adopted in its inaugural meeting on November 3, 2015.
Members of the GCC briefed on their efforts to build effective diplomatic channels with Iran to prevent, resolve or de-escalate conflicts, backed by solid deterrence and defense cooperation with the US.
They described a vision for these “regional diplomatic efforts developing over time to promote peaceful ties in the region, based on a long history of economic and cultural exchanges.”
The Working Group affirmed that deeper economic ties after the lifting of US sanctions under the JCPOA are in the mutual interest of the region.
Both parties stressed that these diplomatic efforts would not succeed if Iran provoked a nuclear crisis.
“The US and GCC member states welcomed the upcoming seventh round of JCPOA negotiations in Vienna and called for an urgent mutual return to full compliance with the JCPOA, that would help pave the way for inclusive diplomatic efforts to address all issues that are necessary to ensure sustainable safety, security, and prosperity in the region,” read the statement.
All participants urged the new Iranian administration to seize the current diplomatic opportunity to prevent conflict and crisis and create enhanced regional security and prosperity.