Experts: Arab countries are not willing to sacrifice their economic interests in Iran because of international sanctions

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 11 /Trend, T.Jafarov/

The main purpose of the U.S. Secretary of State's visit to the Persian Gulf countries is to gain support in order to impose more severe measures to punish Iran, but Arab countries are not able to fully implement sanctions against Iran, experts say.

The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on a visit to the Persian Gulf countries. During her travel, the Secretary of State will visit the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar. Over the last two months, this is Clinton's second visit to the Persian Gulf countries. In her interview to the reporters in Abu Dhabi, Clinton said that the sanctions against Iran have slowed the country's nuclear program, but the problem (Iran's developing nuclear weapons) has not yet found its solution.

Earlier the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, said that Tehran, who faced with technical problems, will not be able to build a nuclear bomb at least by 2015. However, Clinton said the main reason for slowing down Iran's nuclear program is not associated with "technical problems", but with tighter sanctions.

An expert, Iranian by nationality, Ali Reza Nourizadeh, who works in London, believes that the Persian Gulf states implemented the sanctions so far as they could, but the existing relations between Iran and these countries do not create opportunities for a complete rupture of all ties.

"There are economic and political relations, security ties between the Persian Gulf countries and Iran. It is not worthy to expect these countries to fully implement sanctions against Iran. The trade between Iran and these countries will continue," the head of the Iran-Arab Research Centre, Ali Reza Nourizadeh, told Trend.

According to him, those who work in the private sector in the Arab countries do not approach sanctions very seriously, and this, in turn, is of concern for the United States.

From March 2009 to September 2010, the Persian Gulf countries exported goods worth $10 billion to Iran, Iranian İSNA news agency reported. During the same period in 2008, the figure was $8 billion. According to official information provided by Iran's Customs Administration on Jan. 1, 2011, since the beginning of the year (the year changes in Iran in March), Iran has imported goods worth $47.7 billion, an increase of 26 percent compared to the same period of 2009.

According to Nourizadeh, United Arab Emirates annually exports goods worth $9 billion to Iran. "If the U.S. wants to gain support for tougher sanctions against Iran from countries like the UAE, the United States must offer them an alternative," said Nourizadeh.

If formerly most of goods imported by Iran were transported to this country via the UAE, currently Turkey has extended its economic cooperation with Iran and has become a serious contender for the Emirates. In 2010, the trade between Iran and Turkey increased by 200 percent and reached $10 billion. Turkey and Iran have reached an agreement to increase trade turnover to $30 billion.

According to expert from Qatar Fatina Anani, the U.S. continues its attempts to transform the Arab countries into Iran's enemies, but the Arabs are suspicious of the true objectives of the United States. "Israel is an enemy of Iran and the Arabs. Perhaps the U.S. proposals for Arab countries regarding Iran are dictated by Israel," Anani told Trend.

According to him, at certain moments, including when Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas, it is contrary to the interests of both Israel and the Arabs. However, the true objectives of the United States cause suspicions. "Perhaps the U.S. (emphasizing the danger of Iran) wants to increase the supply of arms to Arab countries," said Anani.

The report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on arms supplies in 2010 says that the U.S. signed an agreement with the Persian Gulf countries to sell arms in amount of $123 billion by 2015.

According to an expert on the Middle East Hassan Hanizadeh, Clinton's visit to the region aims at creating tension at the talks to be held in Istanbul between Iran and Western countries over nuclear program.

"Clinton is trying to create unity against Iran in the region, which should create a tense atmosphere at the talks," Hanizadeh told Trend.
According to him, the Persian Gulf countries are not willing to sacrifice their national and regional interests for the sake of U.S. interests.

N.Guliyev contributed to article.

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