Iran no threat to GCC states: Ahmadinejad

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 18, (Agencies): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed on Wednesday the results of the First Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit, which came to a close Wednesday.
“Our dialogue leads to a lot of positive achievements which serve the common interests of our nations,” President Ahmadinejad told a post-summit press conference.

The Iranian leader said he held talks, on the sidelines of the ACD gathering, with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on ways to strengthen the bilateral ties, adding: “We hope to reap the fruits of such meetings in the near future.” Asked about press reports that some Iranian officials issue threats to Kuwait, President Ahmadinejad said: “I’ve never heard of such threats. Iran’s official stances are usually stated by the government or the Foreign Ministry. Any comments by other persons do not express our official views.” “How could Iran pose a threat to Kuwait?” he wondered, adding: “The relations between the two countries are close and sisterly, we believe that the security of Kuwait and the countries of the region are part of Iran’s security.” He noted that the lack of security in the Gulf region harms the interests of all without exception.

Commenting on the purported risks posed to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries by Bushehr nuclear power plant in southwest Iran, President Ahmadinejad said there are some 12 million Iranian people living in adjacent areas.

There are many peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the fields of agriculture, industry, medicine and electricity, he said.

“There are some 500 nuclear power stations around the globe. Why don’t the Western countries talk about the risks of their nuclear power stations and only talk about ours?” he questioned.

The Iranian leader invited the Kuwaiti mass media to visit the Bushehr plant and see for themselves how it meets the international safety standards.

In response to the recent oil sanctions imposed by the Western countries on Iran, he wondered why the West used to offer full support to Iran before the Islamic revolution led by Imam Sayyed Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini in 1979.

“The Iranian economy is so strong that it could live without oil revenues; our people could get accustomed to that and I think that things will change in the near future,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad has urged a ceasefire in Syria and called for internal dialogue to resolve the crisis, but rejects a Turkish proposal to replace President Bashar al-Assad, Kuwait’s press reported Thursday.

“The continuity of the fighting and the killing of innocent and unarmed Syrian citizens ... is unacceptable. A ceasefire must be achieved and then a dialogue started,” said Ahmadinejad, cited by the daily Al-Anbaa newspaper.

“The solution must be Syrian made by the Syrian people,” he said during a visit this week to Kuwait, where he attended the Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit.

Ahmadinejad rejected a Turkish proposal made earlier this month that Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara replace the embattled Assad during a transition phase in Syria.

“This means we are imposing a foreign solution on the Syrians. The solution must be Syrian and not imposed from outside and the Syrian people should decide through elections,” the Iranian leader said.
Ahmadinejad said he had discussed the Syrian crisis with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting Tuesday on the sidelines of a regional summit in Azerbaijan.

“Our main goal is to achieve security and stability in Syria,” Ahmadinejad said. “But the difference is on the means to achieve that goal.”

“Some believe that progress can be achieved through wars but we believe that the means to achieve the goal is through national dialogue.”

Ahmadinejad said Iran will respect the choice of the Syrian people, adding that the ground must be prepared for reaching an understanding, “and this is what we told Erdogan and sought his help.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday his country and Iran back calls by the international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for a ceasefire in Syria to mark an upcoming Muslim holiday.
Davutoglu made the remarks after the Ahmadinejad-Erdogan meeting.

Syria says it is ready to study the idea put forward by Brahimi, who is due to visit Syria on Saturday.
Iran is Syria’s closest regional ally and is accused by several Western and Sunni-led Arab nations of providing military aid to Assad’s regime.

Turkey backs the Syrian rebels and is currently sheltering more than 100,000 Syrian refugees in several camps along the border.

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