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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bahrain Crown Prince: Iran wants nuclear weapons

This is a first:
LONDON, 3 November 2007 — Bahrain’s crown prince has claimed that Iran is developing atomic weapons or the capability to do so, the first time a Gulf state has openly accused Tehran of lying about its controversial nuclear drive. In interviews with correspondents for British newspapers in the capital Manama, Sheikh Salman ibn Hamad Al-Khalifa also urged a diplomatic solution to the standoff between the West and Bahrain’s close neighbor.

“While they don’t have the bomb yet, they are developing it, or the capability for it,” the crown prince said, warning that “the whole region” would be drawn into any military conflict over this issue. “There needs to be far more done on the diplomatic front,” he added, according to The Times. “There’s still time to talk.”

“We need to be very well aware that this could escalate. And we think that is not advisable,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Sheikh Salman as saying.

Of course, Iran denies that Bahrain did any such thing. From IRNA:

Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa deplored a British daily action in distorting the Bahraini crown prince's words concerning Iran. In a meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here on Saturday afternoon, on the sidelines of Iraq neighbors foreign ministers meeting, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa said, "The crown prince's words published in a British daily is 'distorted' and we officially reject them."

Referring to the aims of a number of media in creating pessimism and misunderstanding among neighboring countries, the Bahraini foreign minister said, "Ties between Iran and Bahrain are very deep and strong and such efforts cannot stop its growing trend."