Possibility of a Nuclear-Armed Iran Alarms Arabs

[New York Times] Michael Slackman - Arab governments are growing increasingly anxious not only with the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran but also with the more immediate threat that Iran will destabilize the region if the West presses too hard. "I think the gulf states are well advised now to develop strategies on the assumption that Iran is about to become a nuclear power," said Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, a political science professor at United Arab Emirates University. "Iran is forcing everyone in the region now into an arms race." Writing in Al Quds Al Arabi, editor Abdel-Beri Atwan said: "The Arab regimes, and the gulf ones in particular, will find themselves part of a new alliance against Iran alongside Israel." Atwan said gulf states were taking measures to try to persuade Russia and China to stop supporting Iran. He said Saudi Arabia had offered to purchase billions of dollars of weapons from Russia if it agreed not to sell Iran sophisticated missiles. Abdulaziz Sager, chairman of the Gulf Research Center in the United Arab Emirates, said: "The region can live with a limited retaliation from Iran better than living with a permanent nuclear deterrent. I favor getting the job done now instead of living the rest of my life with a nuclear hegemony in the region that Iran would like to impose."

2009-10-01 08:00:00

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