Prince Turki: Gulf states ‘must balance threat from Iran’
24 April 2014
MANAMA: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief, said Gulf states should work on acquiring nuclear knowhow to balance any threat from Iran.
He also told a security conference in Manama that the Gulf states should be prepared for any possible outcome from Iran’s nuclear talks with world powers.
“We do not hold any hostility to Iran and do not wish any harm to it or to its people, who are Muslim neighbors,” he said in a speech.
“But preserving our regional security requires that we, as a Gulf grouping, work to create a real balance of forces with it, including in nuclear knowhow, and to be ready for any possibility in relation to the Iranian nuclear file. Any violation of this balance will allow the Iranian leadership to exploit all holes to do harm to us.”
The US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia have agreed a July 20 deadline with Iran to clinch a long-term deal that would allow a gradual lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran over its atomic program.
The prince said Gulf states were concerned by Iran’s nuclear ambitions despite the talks and by its meddling in the internal affairs of its Gulf neighbors.
“The lack of trust in the Iranian leadership which arises from its double-talk and the duality of its policies prevents us from believing what it says,” he told the Bahrain conference.
“At the time when we hope that the ongoing nuclear talks between (Iran) and world powers reach the desired aim by halting its nuclear ambitions with definite guarantees, we have to be careful until this is a firm reality,” he said.
Prince Turki also said that a rift within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was the biggest threat facing them despite an agreement last week to end a security dispute with Qatar.
He expressed concern that regional enemies could exploit the rift to destabilize the Middle East.