Aligning with US “Dangerous”
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi warned Arab neighbors today not to put themselves in a “dangerous position” by aligning themselves too closely with the US in the escalating dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.
“We want peace and tranquility in the region. But some of the countries in our region, they want to (be aligned with) other countries 12,000 miles away from this region,” Salehi said in English during an interview with Turkey’s NTV. “I am calling to all countries in the region, please don't let yourselves be dragged into a dangerous position,” Salehi added [NTV/Reuters, 19 January].
Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if impending sanctions would disrupt Iranian oil exports.
Saudi Arabia said earlier this week that it could swiftly raise oil output for key customers if needed; that is if the Iranian oil exports were embargoed.
Meanwhile, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was quoted by the Financial Times Deutschland today as suggesting that Iran was in the process of building nuclear weapons.
“What we know suggests the development of nuclear weapons,” Amano said. “We want to check over everything that could have a military dimension.” [Reuters, 19 January].
An IAEA delegation, headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, will visit Tehran on 29-31 January to seek explanations for intelligence information indicating Iran has engaged in research and development applicable to nuclear weapons.
Iran denies building or wanting bombs, saying it is enriching high-grade uranium only for electricity generation and medical applications.