Larijani in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH (AP) — The top Iranian national security official visited the king of Saudi Arabia to discuss Iran’s contentious nuclear programme on Sunday, a day before US secretary of state arrives in the kingdom.

Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani met with King Abdullah and delivered messages from Iran’s government, the official Saudi news agency reported. The content of the messages were not disclosed, the SAPA news agency said.

In his talks, “Larijani assured the king that the Iranian nuclear programme is for peaceful means”, a Saudi diplomat said.


Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but the United States and Europe fear Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.

Arab states near Iran are concerned nuclear accidents could endanger their citizens or environment, and fear a possible military confrontation between the Islamic regime and the United States or its Israeli ally.

Gulf nations hosting US military bases — Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar — also fear Iran could retaliate against them.

Rice, who is on a weeklong Middle East tour to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and muster regional support for America’s policy in Iraq, is due to visit Saudi Arabia on Monday.

American officials say US President George W. Bush approved several months ago a strategy for the US military to raid Iranian targets in Iraq.

Echoing other Bush administration figures, Rice said the US does not intend to cross the Iraq-Iran border to attack Iranians.

“The United States is simply responding to Iranian activities that have been going on for a while now that threaten not just to destabilize the chance for Iraq to proceed to stability but also that endanger our forces,” Rice said on Saturday.

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