US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the opening of the US-Gulf Security Formum saying the US will back its regional Arab allies against threats from Iran. She also said the meeting would include discussion about the events in Syria, political progress in Gulf countries, Iran's nuclear program, "and curbing its interference in the affairs of its neighbors."
The Gulf Arab nations have accused Iran of backing violent protests in Bahrain and interfering with domestic issues in their own countries.
"The commitment of the United States to the people and the nations of the Gulf is rock-solid and unwavering. Our strong bilateral relationships are a rock of stability in the region," said Clinton.
The US is trying to improve the defenses of the Gulf Arab nations, mostly with arms sales and anti-missile protections, as an added layer of protection against Iran.
Iran has long said it has the right to develop peaceful civilian nuclear energy, which is what it is doing. However western nations and most Arab countries along with Israel believe Iran is also developing a secret nuclear weapon. The US contends that Iran began developing weapons grade uranium two years ago.
As part of the US sanctions, President Obama recently approved tighter sanctions, imposing financial sanctions on any nation or company that imports significant Iranian oil. This was a congressional sanction that first required Obama to say global oil supplies were sufficient before approving this latest level of increased sanctions.