Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran and Regional Perceptions

Published by The Institute of Peace & Diplomacy


Over the course of the negotiations for the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal – as well as efforts to revive the agreement following the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 and subsequent decreases in Iranian compliance – Iran’s regional neighbours have consistently voiced their concerns about the structure and content of the negotiation process. In particular, Israel and – to varying degrees – the six Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC)[1] have criticized the parties to the agreement for excluding them from the Iran nuclear talks and for what they have perceived as a prioritization of the resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue at the expense of what they consider to be more pressing threats to regional security – including Iran’s missile programme and its support for destabilizing non-state actors across the region. This article, based on a longer report published by the authors in July 2022 for the Royal United Services Institute,[2] summarizes how the GCC states perceive the interaction between the Iranian nuclear file and broader regional security dynamics. It argues that – if the ultimate objective is a stable and secure Middle East – the US, Europe and other like-minded governments need to reassure partners in the Gulf of their commitment to supporting the resolution of other regional concerns, independent of the outcomes of nuclear diplomacy with Iran.