Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 19:44 pm (KSA) 16:44 pm (GMT)

Gulf armies ready for possible Iran war: Saudi

Saudi's deputy defense minister says Gulf countries have to be ready (File)
Saudi's deputy defense minister says Gulf countries have to be ready (File)

The armed forces of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are prepared for the possibility of an armed conflict between the United States and Iran, Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister said on Tuesday.

In reply to a reporter's question on the preparedness of GCC states in the event of such a conflict, Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz said: "This subject is under constant study between defense ministers as the countries of the Gulf have to be always ready for any emergency."

His comments came after a meeting of GCC foreign and defense ministers in Riyadh to discuss growing tensions in the region over Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

Tehran vehemently denies U.S. accusations that it is secretly developing an atomic bomb, and insists that its nuclear project is for peaceful purposes.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Bahrain this month, an embassy official said, days after British newspapers quoted the kingdom's crown prince accusing Iran of building a nuclear bomb.

The GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Prodi opposes attack on Iran

Meanwhile in Rome, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi repeated his opposition to any military action against Iran over its nuclear programme, saying Tehran had a right to use civilian nuclear energy.

"I would like to reiterate once again Italy's opposition to any military solution. Such a solution will not only not resolve the problem but also usher in new destabilizing scenarios in the whole region," Prodi said at a banquet hosted for the visiting Saudi King Abdullah.

Prodi said Iran had every right "to develop a peaceful nuclear programme."

Prodi and his Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema have both spoken out strongly in favor of negotiations with Tehran while not ruling out stepped-up sanctions.

Permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany, are backing a third U.N. Security Council resolution and vote on Iran, unless upcoming reports by the U.N. nuclear watchdog and the European Union show "a positive outcome."

But China and Russia, which could in theory veto further sanctions, have yet to call publicly for more punishment against the Islamic republic.

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