Gulf leaders welcome new Iran president: Reports

AFP , Sunday 16 Jun 2013

Gulf states welcomes the election of reformist cleric Hassan Rowhani as Iran's new president

Leaders of Gulf states, which have tense relations with Iran, have swifty welcomed moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani's election as the new president of the Islamic republic, several state news agencies said.

"We look forward to working together for the good of this region and the Emirati and Iranian peoples," the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan wrote in a telegram to Rowhani, state news agency WAM said late Saturday.

"We are keen to forge relations based on cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added.

Leaders of Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar also congratulated Rowhani, who grabbed 50.6 percent of the votes in Friday's election, state news agencies in their respective countries said. Saudi Arabia is yet to comment on his win.

The Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchies are wary of their Shiite-dominated neighbour, mainly over its nuclear ambitions.

They also accuse Tehran of meddling in their internal affairs, especially through an alleged support to the Shiite-led opposition in Bahrain, where authorities quelled protests in mid-march 2011. Bahraini security forces still continue to clash with Shiite demonstrators.

The UAE accuses Iran of occupying since 1971 three islands in the Gulf that the Arab nation claims to own under an agreement signed with colonial-era Britain before it withdrew from that part of the Gulf.

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