Iraq calls for Persian Gulf security pact including Iran

December 10, 2007

MANAMA (AFP) -- Iraq's National Security Advisor Mouaffak al-Rubaie on Sunday called on Persian Gulf states to form a regional security pact, which would include Iran.

""It is extremely important to have a regional reconciliation rather than having this heightened sectarian tension in the region,"" he told delegates at a security conference held in the Bahraini capital Manama.
""That is why Iraq is looking seriously to call for a regional security pact like the good old (1954 anti-Soviet alliance) Baghdad Pact or a NATO-style pact, with a set agenda: counter terrorism, counter narcotics, counter religious extremism and counter sectarianism,"" he said.
The Iraqi official said security in the region was ""indivisible. You cannot stabilize Iraq and destabilize Iran, for example.""
Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi meanwhile agreed that Iran should be included in any regional security arrangement.
""It is our destiny to live with Iran... It is inevitable ... that we should work on regional arrangements that lead Iran to be a source of good to the region and not a source of harm,"" he told reporters on the sidelines of the conference, which Iran decided at the last minute not to attend.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had told participants on Saturday that Washington saw Tehran's foreign policies as a threat to the Middle East and all countries within the range of the missiles he said it was developing.