GCC foreign ministers have discussed Iran’s criticism of how the council is handling the wave of political protests in the region.

The ministers met in Riyadh on 3 April.  

Abdullatif al-Zayani, the new secretary general of the GCC condemned what he called Iran’s meddling in the internal affairs of GCC countries, saying that it threatened security and stability in the region.

Earlier, Iran had criticised how the GCC states were interfering in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia deployed more than 1,000 troops to Bahrain on 14 March to help control the anti-government protests that had brought the central business district in Manama to a halt (MEED 14:3:11).

The troops were part of the Peninsula Shield Force, the military cooperation arm of the GCC.

“Saudi Arabia should know it’s better not to play with fire in the sensitive region of the Persian Gulf,” the Iranian parliament’s foreign affairs and national security committee said on 31 March. Saudi Arabia dismissed the comment saying it was an “irresponsible” statement containing “void allegations and blatant offence against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister also rejected Iran’s interference.

“I advise the brothers in Iran to read the charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council very carefully before they interfere in the domestic affairs of any of its member states,” says Al-Nahyan.

“The GCC was united as it confronted the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and so it shall remain in the face of any threat to its people. The GCC stance towards what happened in Bahrain is very clear and should serve as a lesson. Our council is strong and the best example is how we set up the fund to support Bahrain and Oman.”