Saudi FM says West partly to blame for Iran nuke programme

LONDON (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said he opposed any attempt by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but alleged the West was partly to blame for Tehran’s nuclear programme.
In an interview broadcast Monday by the British Broadcasting Corp., Prince Saud Al Faisal said Western nations’ failure to stop Israel from becoming a nuclear power “has done the damage we are all suffering from now.” In a separate interview with The Times of London, Faisal said: “Nobody mentions that Israel has 100 nuclear weapons in stock, even through it is an open secret.” Diplomats from Europe, the United States and China were meeting in London Monday to discuss whether to bring Iran before the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear programme.

Iran last week removed UN seals from its main uranium enrichment facility and resumed research on nuclear fuel after a 21?2-year freeze. It says its intentions are peaceful and it only wants to produce nuclear energy. But Western nations suspect Tehran seeks nuclear weapons.

The prince, in London for a conference on terrorism, said he hoped Iran would not seek to develop nuclear arms.

“Where are they going to use these weapons? If they hit Israel, they are going to kill Palestinians. If they miss Israel, they are going to hit Saudi Arabia or Jordan,” he said. “Where is the gain in that?” He said Saudi Arabia would “absolutely not” seek to develop a nuclear weapon if Iran had one.

“We do not believe in this at all,” the prince said.

During his speech at the conference on terrorism, Faisal said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was encouraging violence in the Middle East.

“The illegal and unjust policy of Israel in the occupied territories, which has resulted in constant humiliation and suffering for the Palestine people, is breeding anger and hatred in the Arab and Islamic world,” he said.

Faisal urged Israel to respond to an earlier peace offer by Arab nations.

During the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut, he said, Arab countries offered Israel peace in exchange for its withdrawal from all Arab territories occupied in the 1967 Mideast war, including East Jerusalem.

“Israel has yet to respond to this historic gesture,” he said.

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