CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Sunday he was concerned about “new dangers” in the Gulf, in an apparent allusion to Iran, whose nuclear ambitions concern numerous Arab countries.
In a speech to mark the Night of Destiny during the holy month of Ramadan, Mubarak said “our celebration comes as our Arab and Muslim world faces difficult times.”
In addition to the problems in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Somalia, Mubarak warned of “new dangers that are emerging in the Gulf region and threaten its stability.”
Western countries and Israel suspect Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme to hide efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, a prospect that also worries Arab nations.
Arab nations, such as Saudi Arabia, are also concerned about Shiite Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
Egypt, which has been deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, postponed last week a visit to Cairo by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki over comments criticising the role of some Arab leaders in facilitating the talks.
Ties between Tehran and Cairo have been severed since 1980 in the wake of the Islamic revolution in Iran and Egypt’s recognition of Israel.
Since then the two countries have only maintained interest sections in each other’s capitals.