- Gulf states to discuss efforts to counter Iran’s support for terrorist proxies at upcoming U.S.-GCC summit
As Gulf states grow increasingly concerned that a nuclear deal will embolden Iran, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir stated on Tuesday that the U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council summit will focus on Iran’s aggressive actions in the Middle East and efforts needed to counter them. Al-Jubeir stated, "We see Iranian support for terrorist organizations and facilitating the work of terrorist organizations, so the challenge will be in how to coordinate U.S.-Gulf efforts in order to collectively face these aggressive moves on the part of Iran.” On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also highlighted Iran’s expansionist activities, telling the visiting German Defense Minister that Iran is “leading a campaign of conquest and subversion throughout the Middle East, Yemen and around the borders of Israel.”
According to a Financial Times article, Gulf states fear that “an Iran freed of international sanctions on its economy could lock in its Arab gains and become unstoppable.” The article noted that Gulf states “have seen how much Tehran can do with hardly any money” and are concerned that billions of dollars in unlocked funds will allow Iran to boost its support for proxies, further empowering Iran’s hegemonic ambitions. Iran already provides Hezbollah with up to $200 million per year, spends up to $35 billion to prop up the Assad regime, and between 2006 and 2011, financed Hamas with $250-$300 million annually. According to Ephraim Kam, a former colonel in IDF Military Intelligence, after the agreement is signed, Iranian behavior “will likely be even more aggressive and threatening than it is at present, and the agreement will provide Iran with a huge relative advantage in attaining regional hegemony once it is free of the pressure of sanctions.”
The editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English, Faisal J. Abbas, urged the Obama administration to issue guarantees that a nuclear deal with Iran will not “give Iran a green-light to undergo more acts of aggression.” Furthermore, Abbas complained that “the U.S. administration ignores legitimate concerns by its own allies and goes ahead with a nuclear deal which will unleash an unshackled Iran to do more harm to its neighbors and finance more proxy wars.” On Monday, in what was widely perceived as a snub, Saudi Arabia announced that King Salman, who was previously expected to come to the summit, will not be attending.
Iran rejected criticism of its use of the death penalty made by United Nations officials last week, calling it a "downright lie," The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday. The criticism comes amid an increase in executions in Iran as well as the arrest of a prominent anti-death penalty activist.
Last week, two U.N. officials—Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, and Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions—criticized Iran's use of the death penalty. Iran has never allowed Shaheed into the country to investigate.
Both rapporteurs also criticized Iran for its continued use of public executions, saying that the practice had “'a dehumanising effect on both the victim and those who witness the execution' and ultimately reinforced the 'already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty.'”