Saudi Arabia is on the wrong path: Salehi

April 10, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that Saudi Arabia chose a wrong path when it decided to dispatch troops to Bahrain to quell the popular uprising in the country.

Salehi made the remarks during a joint press conference with Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes in Tehran on Saturday.
“Saudi Arabia is following the wrong path and its action will have severe consequences,” he stated.
Salehi said, “It has been announced that the troops were dispatched to Bahrain at the request of Bahrain and under the Peninsula Shield security pact. But according to the information we have, (the signatories to the pact) can militarily intervene in another (Persian Gulf Cooperation Council member) country only when it is under military attack.”
“Did (Bahrain) regard the popular protests as a foreign invasion and thus ask for Saudi Arabia’s help?”
In 1984, the PGCC decided to create a joint military force called the Peninsula Shield Force. The Peninsula Shield Force is intended to deter and respond to military aggression against any of the PGCC member countries, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Salehi added, “When I took the post of foreign minister, I announced that my first priority was to establish strong ties with Saudi Arabia, and I made the utmost efforts in this regard, but the response we received was irrational and ill-considered.”
However, Iran is still ready to develop strong ties with this country, and “we hope that Saudi Arabia will leave Bahrain’s soil as soon as possible and will not complicate the situation further,” he stated.
The Uruguayan foreign minister also condemned the foreign military intervention in Bahrain.
Egyptian foreign minister invited to Tehran
Salehi also confirmed the reports that he has invited Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi to visit Tehran.
In light of the overtures made by el-Arabi, “we are ready to welcome him in Tehran, and we are prepared to make a trip to Cairo as well. The consultations are underway in this regard,” he stated.
He added that cooperation between Iran and Egypt will help promote world peace and global stability and security.
Iran thanks Iraq for dealing with terrorists
Asked if U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ three-day visit to Iraq, which started on Friday, has sapped Baghdad’s determination to seriously deal with the members of the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), Salehi said that the Iraqi government is cracking down hard on terrorist groups.
“We appreciate the Iraqi government’s measures in this regard,” he added.
Bushehr nuclear plant being reloaded
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi confirmed the reports that the Bushehr nuclear power plant is being loaded with nuclear fuel again.
“The reloading of fuel into the core of the reactor started on April 8,” Salehi stated.
Iran had to unload fuel due to safety concerns that arose in February. Russia said a breakdown of one of the reactor’s cooling pumps necessitated the removal of 163 fuel rods from its core.
Salehi added that the fuel was unloaded from the Bushehr nuclear power plant to ensure the safety of the reactor
Production of centrifuge parts in Iran nothing new
Salehi also commented on the MKO members’ claims about the discovery of a factory producing centrifuge components located in Tehran Province near the border with Alborz Province, west of the city of Tehran.
“The components required by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran are being manufactured in different parts of the country,” he stated.
The factory in question is also not a hidden facility and reporters have even visited it, Salehi added.
Jalili preparing a reply to Ashton’s letter
Asked about the continuation of talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany), Salehi said that EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton recently sent a letter to Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, and Mr. Jalili is preparing a written reply to her letter.
“We have always been keen to negotiate,” Salehi stated.
The foreign ministers of Iran and Uruguay also held a meeting before the press conference and signed a cooperation agreement.
They also explored ways to promote cooperation between Tehran and Montevideo in various spheres, particularly in economic interactions.