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. Gulf bloc warns Iran nuclear concerns 'real, justified'
MANAMA, Sept 10 (AFP) Sep 10, 2006
The head of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council warned Sunday that the bloc's concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions were "real and justified".

"The countries of the region have suffered from the negative consequences of war for three decades," GCC Secretary General Abdulrahman al-Attiya told a Manama conference on the risks of nuclear proliferation in the region.

"The concern of the Gulf countries is real and justified," Attiya said at the opening of the conference.

"The majority of the capitals and cities of the countries of the GCC are closer to the nuclear thermal power stations than Tehran," he added.

The Gulf Cooperation Council's members are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

During a June meeting in Riyadh, the council expressed "major concern" about Tehran's nuclear programme, in particular over fears of "a radioactive leak from Iranian nuclear thermal power stations, which would cause an enormous ecological catastrophe and pollute Gulf waters".

Tehran responded by rejecting the concerns and assuring the bloc that its Bushehr nuclear power station was safe.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa told the Manama conference that "in the nuclear field, Israel currently represents the greatest danger to the countries in the region, including those of the Gulf."

The two-day conference is being attended by representatives of GCC members' interior and defence ministries, as well as the Arab League.

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