DOHA - Qatari foreign minister Khalid al-Attiyah said on Monday Gulf Arab states were confident that a historic nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers made the Gulf region safer.

Speaking at a news conference after hosting talks between Gulf Arab foreign ministers and visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, Attiyah said: “We are confident that what they undertook makes this region safer and more stable.” Qatar currently holds the rotating chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

The United States and Gulf Arab allies are cooperating to check destabilisation in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, in apparent recognition of their worries that Iran’s nuclear deal will deepen its influence among Arabs.

Kerry said after meeting fellow foreign ministers from the six energy-exporting countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Qatar that he and they agreed that once fully implemented, the accord would contribute to the region’s security. But, in apparent acknowledgement of Gulf Arab fears that the regional balance of power may be tilting towards Tehran, Kerry said the discussions also covered “our cooperation in countering the destabilising activities taking place in the region”.

Most Gulf Arab states worry that Iran’s July 14 accord with the United States and othher big powers will usher in detente between Tehran and Washington and embolden the Islamic Republic to support paramilitary allies in the region. Last month, six world powers agreed to lift sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its uranium enrichment programme, which the West suspects was aimed at developing an atomic bomb but which Tehran says is for peaceful energy only.

Kerry told a news conference in the Qatari capital Doha: “Today my counterparts and I discussed the steps that we will take and how we intend to build an even stronger, more enduring and more strategic partnership with particular focus on our cooperative counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency.” Washington has agreed to speed up arms sales to Gulf countries, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday, following talks in Doha on their concerns over the Iran nuclear deal.

His Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, told a joint press conference with Kerry that the nuclear deal was “the best option among other options”.

Kerry said the United States had “agreed to expedite certain arms sales that are needed and that have taken too long in the past”. Following talks with foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Kerry said that Washington and the region’s Arab states would also step up efforts to share intelligence and increase the number of joint military exercises. The secretary of state was in the Qatari capital for a day-long set of meetings with GCC representatives in a bid to calm their fears over the nuclear accord with Iran. Gulf countries have expressed concerns that the July 14 deal between Iran and world powers would allow greater interference in the region by the Islamic republic. “We talked about the possibility, not the possibility, the reality of increasing the number of exercises that we are conducting together,” Kerry said.

“These are a few examples and ways in which we believe the security of the region can be strengthened and cooperation will be enhanced.”

Attiyah, for his part, said there was support for the nuclear deal among countries in the Gulf. “This was the best option among other options to come up with a solution to the nuclear weapons of Iran through dialogue,” the Qatari minister said, speaking in Arabic.