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. Iranian official discusses nuclear file in UAE
ABU DHABI (AFP) Jun 07, 2005
A top Iranian official discussed Tehran's nuclear file with United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan on Tuesday, the UAE news agency WAM reported.

Hassan Rowhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, briefed the Emirati leader on Tehran's stand in nuclear negotiations and stressed its "commitment to abide by all relevant international resolutions", WAM said.

During a visit to neighboring Kuwait on Monday, Rowhani urged the United States, which accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of an energy program, to make a "courageous" first move for reconciliation with Tehran.

WAM quoted Sheikh Khalifa as assuring Rowhani, Iran's top negotiator in nuclear talks with the European Union, that Abu Dhabi is keen on establishing stability and security and "eliminating tensions in the Middle East, chiefly the Gulf region".

The Emirati leader also underscored the need for "all countries in the world to commit to eliminating prohibited weapons and strive to resolve conflicts by peaceful means", the news agency added.

The UAE and Iran have a longstanding row over three strategic Gulf islands controlled by Tehran since 1971.

Rowhani will fly to Saudi Arabia on Thursday for a four-day visit at the invitation of Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, an official at the Iranian embassy in Riyadh told AFP.

He will perform umrah, or minor pilgrimage, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca before heading to the Saudi capital Saturday for talks on bilateral ties with Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and Prince Nayef, he said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi had been due to visit Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, but the visit was canceled because he is feeling unwell, according to a source at the Saudi foreign ministry.

Rowhani's talks in Riyadh Saturday will coincide with a meeting of foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi capital.

The GCC, which groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, backs Abu Dhabi in its dispute with Iran over the islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

Iran insists on its sovereignty over the islands, saying only Abu Musa could be open to any form of discussion.

The UAE wants the issue settled either through direct talks or by referring it to the International Court of Justice.

Iran took possession of the Greater and Lesser Tunbs after British forces left the Gulf in 1971, while the only inhabited island -- Abu Musa -- became subject to joint administration under a deal with Sharjah, now part of the UAE.

But since then, the UAE says, the Iranians have taken control of all access to the island, installed an airport and military base there, as well as encouraged settlers to move in to change its demographic make-up.

Rowhani is also due to visit Yemen on his regional tour.

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