Iran deal ‘could spark N-arms race’


Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman warned on Tuesday that a nuclear deal with Iran that does not have clauses to safeguard other nations would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
“Seeking nuclear weapons represents a very serious threat,” said King Salman during his address to the consultative summit of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) here.
King Salman urged Gulf leaders to stand up to Iran. He called on the international community, especially the Group 5+1 negotiating with Iran, “to set stricter rules that guarantee the region’s security and prevent it from plunging into an arms race.”
He said that any final agreement with Iran must include unambiguous security guarantees. King Salman said that the GCC consultative summit comes amid mounting international concerns over a host of regional conflicts including Iran, Yemen, Syria and Palestine.
Those who attended the gathering included French President Francois Hollande, heads of the Gulf states, several members of the Saudi royal family and high-ranking Saudi officials. Prominent among them were Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, deputy premier and minister of interior; Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense; Adel Al-Toraifi, minister of culture and information; and Adel Al-Jubeir, minister of foreign affairs.
King Salman also announced the establishment of a major humanitarian center in Riyadh to coordinate relief operations, and invited the UN to assist. He called on all factions to lay down their arms and start peace talks in the Saudi capital, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
In a clear reference to Iran, King Salman said there was a need to confront an external threat that “aims to expand control and impose its hegemony,” threatening regional stability and creating “sectarian sedition.” He said the Saudi-led coalition had launched its operation after an appeal for help by the legitimate government and the refusal of the coup leaders to comply with GCC and international peace initiatives.
He pledged to extend all possible aid to Yemen, and said that he has instructed Saudi government agencies to legalize the status of hundreds of thousands of Yemeni workers who are living and working in the Kingdom, to help them “overcome the current crisis.”
On the question of Palestine, King Salman called on the international community to find a solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is the “core issue” in the Arab and Islamic world. On the Syrian crisis, he lambasted the Syrian regime and said “the current Assad regime should not have a role in the future of Syria.”
A statement released after the summit reiterated that all states have a responsibility to restore stability in Yemen. It also said that France fully supports the Saudi-led coalition’s operations. The statement added that the normalization of relations between the GCC and Iran must be based on the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of the Arab countries and the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Hollande, who became the first Western leader to attend such a Gulf gathering, said “the security of the Arab world is tantamount to the world’s security and the dangers of terrorism threaten all countries.” Hollande said his country was working to boost “strategic ties” with Saudi Arabia.
Others who attended the summit were Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Qatar emir; Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president of the UAE, prime minister and ruler of Dubai; Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, emir of Kuwait; and King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa of Bahrain.
The event concluded with a lunch hosted by King Salman in honor of the GCC leaders at Diriyah Palace.


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