Saudi prince denies Iran deal claim

GCC states have not entered into any agreement with the United States to help it destabilize Iran, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Massoud A. Derhally Published  May 28, 2006

GCC states have not entered into any agreement with the United States to help it destabilize Iran, Arabian Business can reveal. “It’s not true. Absolutely not true,” Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US told Arabian Business. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not and has not interfered in the affairs of any other countries and I don’t think the United States strives for that according to what we have heard from US officials. The US Secretary of State and President Bush have said that they support and pursue negotiations and diplomacy through the United Nations.” A report last week by Middle East Newsline (MEN), a defense news service said that “The Gulf Cooperation Council has quietly agreed to help the United States in efforts to destabilize Iran.” The report quoted Western diplomatic sources said “several Gulf Arab countries would be used for a range of non-combat operations against the Iranian regime,” and that “The activities will be subtle and designed to avoid a direct link to the Gulfies. With the support of the GCC, the United States will completely surround Iran.” The sources said the “GCC countries could be used for U.S. intelligence, psychological operations and surveillance in southern Iran, particularly its maritime.” “I believe the worry in the Gulf is fear of two things; either the development of nuclear weapons or that there is military intervention to prevent nuclear development,” said Al-Faisal. “Both scenarios are refused from Saudi Arabia and the GCC states. As [Saudi Foreign Minister] prince Saud Al -Faisal said [recently] the GCC decided to send an envoy to our Iranian neighbours to put forward these concerns from the council. All of us in the GCC strive encourage and strive for a diplomatic path and negotiations between Iran, Europe and the US.” US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick told Arabian Business he was not aware of the report but that it could be a “garbled” result of a few events. “As you know in the past we have had a series of security relations with Gulf States. With the war in Iraq and the aftermath, some of the Gulf States felt that there wasn’t enough attention being spent on larger Gulf security. We had some officials talking to people in capitol about broader Gulf security [and] part of it relates to Iraq, part of it our military relationship, part of it is weaponry purchases and part of it obviously is Iran. It sounds to me that that’s garbled from these discussions,” Zoellick explained. The Los Angeles Times reported the US is pursuing a containment strategy with the some of the GCC states “aims to spread sophisticated missile defense systems across the region and to interdict ships carrying nuclear technology to the country.” John Hillen, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, led a top-level US delegation to the Gulf two weeks ago for further discussions and told the paper the initiative “is really the first time in a while” the US had been actively involved in trying to reshape a regional security system and “could put pressure on Iran to behave responsibly.” Iran has refused to halt its uranium enrichment programme and vowed the country would continue to work towards an industrial-scale capacity. Tehran has persistently argued its aims are purely to generate electricity, in line with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty’s (NPT) that it is a signatory to. Under the NPT, specifically article 4, Iran is permitted to have a civilian nuclear energy programme and is building a massive nuclear power plant in Bushehr, which it claims will help its energy production become more efficient. But the US and European countries have questioned Iran’s motives, as it is a major oil producer and produces over two million barrels of oil a day. Tehran has rejected a European offer that includes a nuclear reactor that would help it meet its energy needs.

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