- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Kuwait, the one Persian Gulf Arab nation that has tried to maintain relations with Iran, is continuing its diplomatic straddle a day after President Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry in a statement said only it followed Mr. Trump’s White House announcement Tuesday “with great interest,” while noting that Kuwait had welcomed the signing of the 2015 accord that limited Iran’s nuclear programs in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

“If the proposed U.S. amendments to the agreement — that were not approved — prompted Washington to take a certain stance toward the pact, Kuwait understands and respects the U.S. move,” a Foreign Ministry source told the Kuwait News Agency, state-owned news wire service.

But the ministry also said the pact could “contribute to boosting regional security and stability, despite realizing that it did not fully respond to worries and concerns of countries in the region resulting from Iran’s negative conduct with these states.”

Kuwait is locked in a fierce diplomatic dispute with a bloc of fellow Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, in part because Doha maintains extensive economic links with Iran, including the joint development of a massive natural gas field.

Other Sunni Gulf states, including the UAE and Bahrain, joined Saudi Arabia Tuesday in praising Mr. Trump’s decision.

But Kuwait is the only state in the region with a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Bakht al-Rashidi told KUNA Wednesday that Doha would work with other oil-producing nations to ease any energy market disruptions resulting from the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal. Saudi Arabian officials told the Reuters news agency that they are prepared to ease any shortfalls if Iranian oil is blocked from the market, but they do not want to carry the burden alone.

• David R. Sands can be reached at dsands@washingtontimes.com.

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