U.S. Looks to Reassure Gulf Allies Over Iran

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Hagel Says America Is Committed to Region’s Defense.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sought to reassure American allies in the Middle East worried about the threat from Iran, pushing the promise of a beefed-up regional missile-defense system.

Mr. Hagel announced Saturday a new push to have the Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of energy-rich Arab kingdoms, work together to collectively purchase new early-warning systems from the U.S.

He said the diplomatic push by the U.S. to roll back Iran’s nuclear program shouldn’t be misinterpreted, and that America remains committed to the defense of its allies in the region.

“We know diplomacy cannot operate in a vacuum,” Mr. Hagel said in a speech to the Manama Dialogue, a security conference. “Our success will continue to hinge on America’s military power, and the credibility of our assurances to our allies and partners in the Middle East.”

An Iranian delegate to the forum, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a research scholar, asked Mr. Hagel why he didn’t credit Tehran for helping to remove the threat of chemical weapons in Syria, and why the U.S. didn’t penalize Israel over its chemical weapons.

“The U.S. has orchestrated the most pressure in a decade against Iran, while Iran does not have a single nuclear bomb,” he said.

Mr. Hagel responded that Iran was in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and the will of the international community.

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