CAIRO — As the West raises the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Arab governments, especially the small, oil-rich, nations in the Persian Gulf, are growing increasingly anxious. But they are concerned not only with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran but also with the more immediate threat that Iran will destabilize the region if the West presses too hard, according to diplomats, regional analysts and former government officials.
On Thursday, Iran will meet with six world powers to discuss a variety of issues in what will be the first direct talks between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Iran would appear to enter the discussions weakened by a bitter political dispute at home and by the recent revelation of a second, secret, nuclear enrichment plant near Qum.
But instead of showing contrition, Iran test-fired missiles — an example of the kind of behavior that has caused apprehension among some of its Arab neighbors. The cause and effect of conflict between Iran and the West is never experienced in Washington or London but instead plays out here, in the Middle East, where Iran has committed allies like >>>
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