Bahram Qassemi

Iranian spokesman sees no prospect for ‘Arab NATO’

Tasnim – Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman scorned the US idea of creating an “Arab NATO”, saying there is no similarity between the conditions that led to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the current status of relations among Arab countries.

In comments at a press conference in Tehran on Monday, Bahram Qassemi said it would be a mistake to use the phrase ‘Arab NATO’, since there is no similarity between NATO and Arab counties.

The idea of establishing a military alliance of the Arab countries is not anything new, the spokesman said, adding that NATO’s raison d’être and the time when it was established are totally different from the status quo of Arab states.

“What we notice in the inter-Arab relations is a lack of integrity and consensus and indeed the existing gaps between the (Arab) countries,” Qassemi added.

Dismissing the US idea of creating a so-called Arab NATO as a hype, he said the Trump administration is seeking to take advantage of the weak bonds among Arab states to fulfill its own interests and reap the profit of petrodollars.

The comments came after Reuters quoted US and Arab officials as saying that the Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Persian Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in order to counter Iran.

Four sources have said the White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the countries on missile defense, military training, counter-terrorism and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and diplomatic ties, four sources said.

The White House’s hope is that the effort, tentatively known as the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), might be discussed at a summit provisionally scheduled for Washington on October 12-13.