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. Saudi FM urges Iran to comply with nuclear obligations
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 27 (AFP) Sep 27, 2008
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Saturday called on Iran to comply with its nuclear obligations to spare the Middle East region from "devastating conflicts, futile arms races and serious environmental hazards."

"We take very seriously the undertakings of Iran to fully and strictly respect its obligation to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he said in written remarks circulated at the 192-member UN General Assembly.

"We hope that this obligation will be put into practical effect in such a way as to ensure a peaceful and rapid solution to the problem of the Iranian nuclear program and save the region from devastating conflicts, futile arms races and serious environmental hazards," he added.

His remarks were released as the UN Security Council met to consider a short draft resolution reaffirming existing sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to suspend sensitive nuclear fuel work which could be used to build a nuclear weapon.

The West and Israel fear Iran intends to build a nuclear bomb but Tehran insists its nuclear energy program is entirely peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

The Saudi foreign minister also expressed support for the United Arab Emirates in its territorial dispute with Iran over three islands near the Strait of Hormuz through which an estimated 40 percent of the world's crude oil passes.

"We reaffirm our support for the right of the United Arab Emirates to recover its occupied islands by peaceful means and hope that Iran will respond rapidly and favorably to this call," he added.

Iran, while under the rule of the Western-backed shah, gained control of the three islands in 1971 as British forces granted independence to its Gulf protectorates.

The UAE has repeatedly proposed resolving the dispute through direct negotiations or international arbitration, but Iran has always refused.

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