European-backed negotiations in Vienna to bring the United States and Iran back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal have changed the strategic environment for the Gulf states. They look to the US-promised 'follow-on negotiations' to meet their regional security concerns, but are also opening direct lines to Tehran.
- If direct Iran-GCC negotiations proceed, they will likely focus on practical confidence-boosting measures within the Gulf itself.
- Reconciliation with Qatar and a new Kuwaiti GCC Secretary General may allow the GCC to play a larger role in any follow-on talks.
- Emirati and Bahraini (and possibly Saudi) representatives may coordinate US messaging on Iran with Israeli counterparts.