Gates: Arab World Should Unite to Counter Iran Threat
By VOA News
08 September 2009
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says American allies in the Arab world should strengthen their military capabilities to deter Iran from seeking nuclear weapons.
In an interview with the Arabic network Al-Jazeera released Tuesday, Gates says the United States still believes diplomatic and economic pressures can lead to policy changes in Iran.
But he says one of the "pathways" to get the Iranians to change their approach on the nuclear issue is to persuade them that developing atomic weapons will jeopardize their security, not enhance it.
Gates says if Iran proceeds with its nuclear program, it could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the entire region.
On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will not negotiate on its "right" to develop nuclear technology.
Mr. Ahmadinejad said, from Iran's point of view, the nuclear issue is concluded, but he said Iran will discuss ways to cooperate on the "peaceful use" of nuclear energy.
A group of six world powers comprised of Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain) has been seeking dialogue with Iran on its nuclear program.
The United States and its Western allies have accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.
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