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Iranian Nuclear Program of ‘Extreme Concern’ to Gulf

The Gulf Cooperation Council said it is monitoring the development of Iran’s nuclear program with “extreme concern” and denounced any use of force against the Islamic state.

The regional organization urged Iran “to comply with international law,” according to a statement distributed at the conclusion of the 31st annual GCC summit in Abu Dhabi today. Members reaffirmed their “mutual respect with Iran” and condemned “the use of force or threat against” it.

State Department cables released by Wikileaks.org last week appeared to show that Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, had appealed to the U.S. to attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. Saudi Arabia has said it isn’t sure whether the cables are genuine. The Sunni Muslim kingdom and Iran, which follows Shiite teachings, are regional rivals.

On a visit to Bahrain last week, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the country’s Muslim neighbors are “not suspicious” of it and that Persian Gulf states shouldn’t impose their views on one another.

The six-member GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.

Meanwhile, the U.A.E. said it hopes to see an end to sanctions imposed on Iran by the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear program, adding that the country should encourage an end to the measures.

“We want the Security Council to end sanctions on Iran but Iran has to help this as well,” said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, foreign minister for the U.A.E., which has strong trade ties with its non-Arab neighbor across the Persian Gulf.

The U.A.E. encourages Iran to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, Sheikh Abdullah said today. He added that he hopes “good will” will guide all parties to finding a resolution to the Iran nuclear issue when they meet in Istanbul in January.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vivian Salama in Abu Dhabi at vsalama@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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