Iran Says Ready for Talks With Arab States Without Preconditions

Iran is ready for talks with its Arab neighbors “without preconditions,” the country’s foreign minister said as nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalize their relations with the Islamic Republic’s arch-enemy Israel.

“Iran is ready without preconditions to sit down and talk with Arab neighbors,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview on state-run Press TV. “We want to live in good relations with our neighborhood. We want to have a strong neighborhood.”

The UAE and Bahrain last year normalized their ties with Israel in a historic shift for the Middle East as the Jewish state achieves official legitimacy and broad commercial ties in the heart of the Persian Gulf. Underpinning the rapprochement was a shared distrust of Iran, its nuclear program and its growing influence in the Middle East through a network of militant proxies.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last year the UAE’ decision to normalize ties with Israel was a betrayal of the Arab and Muslim worlds and unlikely to last.

“If they believe they can buy security from Netanyahu, they can be my guest,” Zarif said on Sunday, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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