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IRAQ - Iran Seeks GCC Support.

Visiting Abu Dhabi, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Larijani, who is also Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, on May 2 said he was confident that the six Arab Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states would not side with the US in its nuclear row with Tehran and accused Washington of seeking to create trouble in the region. He said: GCC leaders "will not...stand by the US in its attempts against Iran because they are aware of the US administration's policy of double standards".

Larijani, whose remarks were reported by the official WAM news agency, played down Iran's dispute with the UAE over the three Gulf isles of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, and said Tehran had no problems with its Arab neighbours across the Persian Gulf, adding: "It is the United States which tries to sow conflict and rifts between the states of the region, and it is the one now seeking to create trouble between Shi'ites and Sunnis in and outside Iraq".

Larijani said Iran's neighbours had nothing to fear from the nuclear power station being built at Bushehr with Russian help. He said the plant will not have any nuclear fuel before a year, and claims that it could constitute a danger to the region were being contrived by the US. Larijani added that Iran welcomed any efforts by GCC states to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme. Iran was ready for a peaceful solution, provided it upheld its "rights", Larijani said, referring to Tehran's insistence that it was entitled to pursue a civilian nuclear energy programme.

Larijani discussed Iran's nuclear activities with UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who called for calm in the oil-rich Gulf region. WAM said Shaikh Khalifa stressed Abu Dhabi's keenness to "achieve stability, security and just and lasting peace, and to eliminate tensions in the Middle East, chiefly the Arab Gulf region". Larijani later met with the ruler of Dubai, Shaikh Muhammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum, who is also the UAE's vice president and prime minister. Larijani stressed that Iran sought to resolve the nuclear crisis through dialogue and to co-operate with Arab neighbours to "bolster security and stability in the region away from the interests of the big powers". Sheikh Muhammad in turn underscored the UAE's support for the peaceful resolution of disputes.

Iran's standoff with the West over its nuclear ambitions worsened when it failed to comply with a UNSC deadline on April 28 to suspend uranium enrichment, which makes the fuel for civilian reactors but can also be the explosive core of a bomb. While Western countries are maintaining a tough line, reflecting their fear that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal, Russia and China are seeking a more diplomatic approach.
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Title Annotation:Gulf Co-operation Council
Publication:APS Diplomat Operations in Oil Diplomacy
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:May 15, 2006
Previous Article:IRAQ - The Oil Ministry.
Next Article:IRAQ - Focusing On The Non-Oil Sector - Part 6-Y - The Syria-Iran Factor.

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