AFP: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Tuesday that the oil-rich kingdom was not mediating between Iran and the United States to ease the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. RIYADH, Jan 16, 2007 (AFP) – Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Tuesday that the oil-rich kingdom was not mediating between Iran and the United States to ease the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“We are not undergoing any form of mediation in this issue,” Prince Saud told reporters in a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
But he said that his country would want to avoid conflict in the region that might emerge from Iran’s defiance of Western demands to freeze uranium enrichment.
“Iran is a neighbour of Saudi Arabia, so obviously we hope to avoid any conflict,” Saud added.
Rice meanwhile said that the issue was not a conflict between Iran and the United States, pointing out that Iran is ignoring a UN Security Council resolution that “sets out the demand on Iran to stop its enrichment and reprocessing activities”.
“There is no need for mediation” between Iran and United States, she said, adding that “Iran needs to respond to the requirements of the international community,” as a whole.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini also said Tuesday that Iran had not asked Saudi Arabia to mediate with the US on its behalf.
“This information is wrong,” Hosseini was quoted by the Iranian press as saying, referring to press reports claiming that Iran’s top national security official Ali Larijani delivered on Sunday a letter to Saudi King Abdullah requesting such mediation.
Iran has so far shown no sign of caving in to a Security Council resolution that imposed the first ever UN sanctions against Iran over its failure to suspend enrichment, which can be used to fuel power stations or to make nuclear bombs.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge fiercely rejected by Tehran which insists it only wants to provide energy for a growing population.