RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, (AP) -Saudi Arabia and France called Saturday on Iran to accept international demands to halt uranium enrichment, saying the Mideast should be free of weapons of mass destruction.
Visiting French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud al-Faisal stressed diplomacy must be the way to solve Iran’s ongoing standoff with the West over its nuclear program.
“We agreed on the necessity that the region should be void of weapons of mass destruction and that achieving this target will be by dialogue and diplomacy,” al-Faisal said during a joint news conference.
“Israel should not be excluded from the international efforts and procedures,” he added, reflecting regional demands that the Jewish state also be scrutinized for its nuclear program.
Iran recently stated it would continue to defy international sanctions aimed at rolling back its uranium enrichment program. Enriched uranium can be used both for nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Tehran says its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and Europe fear Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.
“Iran has to respond to international demands regarding this issue, and should have a positive stance,” Douste-Blazy was quoted as saying by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Arab states near Iran are concerned nuclear accidents could endanger their citizens or environment, and fear a possible military confrontation between the Islamic regime and the United States or its Israeli ally. Gulf nations hosting U.S. military bases — Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar — also fear Iran could retaliate against them.