Arab world has no problem with Iran: Amr Moussa

May 18, 2009 - 0:0

SHUNEH, Jordan - Arab countries do not have any problem with Iran and efforts to reach a compromise with Israel have not produced any positive result, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa stated on Sunday.

“We do not regard Iran as the main issue. Actually, the Arab world does not have any problem with Iran… The main problem and major threat to the region and Arabs is Israel’s nuclear activity,” he said during a meeting on the Middle East peace process in Shuneh, Jordan.
Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Jordanian Prime Minister Nader al-Dahabi, and Russian special envoy to the Middle East Alexander Sultanov also attended the meeting.
Moussa said all parties must agree on a Palestinian government that will act responsibly in order to establish lasting peace.
Israel should not only halt building settlements but should also dismantle all of them because they have been built illegally; otherwise, dialogue will lead nowhere, he added.
If the Arab countries start a new round of talks with Israel without setting preconditions, specifically that Israel halt construction of new settlements and dismantle the old settlements, they are in fact acting against themselves, he noted.
“If Jewish settlements are not evacuated soon, we should halt all political efforts for reaching a compromise, and come to realize that we have no option but resistance. Well, if the two-state solution is not possible, we can focus on one state that is established based on votes cast by all real residents of the Palestinian territory. This is the international community’s responsibility.”
The Arab League secretary general also said, “I take Obama’s remarks about change and his interest in peace and dialogue seriously.”
However, if there is no significant progress in 2009 with U.S. support, all hopes will fade, he stated.
Moussa also defended Iran’s right to have a civilian nuclear energy program.
As long as the International Atomic Energy Agency has not reported any deviation in Iran’s nuclear program, no one is allowed to say Iran should halt its nuclear activities, he asserted.
“Nuclear disarmament is a global issue, and it is not possible to forget Israel and talk about the Iran ‘threat’ all the time. This is a mistake,” he added.
He went on to say that the community of nations must address the issue of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, pointing out that it is not possible to be an advocate of nuclear disarmament and at the same time ignore this issue.
The Palestinian Authority prime minister said Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
“Settlement building must be halted according to the Annapolis agreement, and based on the 2005 agreement, the Palestinians’ right of free movement must be respected,” Fayyad added.
The Iraqi vice president said Iran is a major player in the Middle East and all regional countries should be involved in resolving the Palestine issue.
Efforts should be made to eradicate all weapons of mass destruction in the region and the Middle East should be declared a WMD-free zone, Abdul-Mahdi added.
Iran’s nuclear program is not a threat to Arab world
In an interview with the Mehr News Agency on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan, Amr Moussa said Iran’s nuclear program is not a threat to the Arab world or to world peace, adding that Israel is the real threat, since it possesses a nuclear arsenal and refuses to sign the NPT.
Moussa added, “I ask, why should we regard Iran’s nuclear program as a threat? According to what documentation?
“According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has had no diversion from the NPT (nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty). Therefore, Iran has the right to develop its peaceful nuclear program based on this international treaty.”
“I feel no threat from Iran’s nuclear program toward the Arab world and the international community, but when Israel does not accept the NPT and does not observe it, its nuclear arsenal threatens all of us.”
On the prospects for cooperation between Iran and other Middle Eastern countries in the utilization of cleaner sources of energy, he said regional countries should seek alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, but using nuclear energy to produce electricity is a “reliable source which we all have the right to use.”
On the possibility of nuclear cooperation between Islamic states, he said, “In the current situation we are far from this goal, but we must think of this issue, which is possible in the future.”
The Arab League secretary general also censured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for refusing to accept the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and resisting calls to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories.
“If we want to listen to Netanyahu, there will be no peace and no recognition of Palestinians’ rights.”
“We, the Arab League, the European Union, and apparently the new U.S. administration, have a different view than Netanyahu.”
Through his approach toward the Palestine issue, the new Israeli prime minister is challenging the entire world, Moussa observed.
However, Moussa said he does not think that Netanyahu will be as intransigent in the future as he has been in the past.
He went on to say that the Arab world is in favor of dialogue between Iran and the United States and dismissed the views of a certain circle who believe improved relations between Tehran and Washington would not be in the interests of the Arab world.
“Any dialogue will produce good results, provided that we recognize that peace, security, and cooperation are good for everyone and not just for a single country.