Font Size

- Aa +

Sun 24 Oct 2010 12:16 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Bahrain Minister urges Iranian transparency on nuclear program

Gulf state is 'concerned' about how Iran's nuclear program is being dealt with

Bahrain Minister urges Iranian transparency on nuclear program
AVOID CONFRONTATION: Bahrains Foreign Minister called on Iran to be transparent about its nuclear program to avoid confrontation with the US and its allies (AFP)

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister called on Iran to be “transparent” about its nuclear program to avoid a confrontation with the US and its allies.

Speaking during an interview in Manama on Saturday, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Al Khalifa said: “Be transparent, be fully transparent, and you will avoid being on the confrontational path with the world."

He added: “We are concerned about the way their nuclear program is being dealt with, whether it is by Iran or the international community.”

Iran began processing low enriched uranium to reactor grade in February, intensifying its conflict with Western countries.

 The US and allies accuse the Arabian Gulf nation of seeking to develop atomic weapons. Iran rejects the charge and says it needs the technology to generate electricity and for other civilian purposes such as medical research.

Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the ministry said in a statement posted Oct 10 on the website of state run Bahrain News Agency.

Iran is under a fourth round of UN sanctions because it refuses to curtail its nuclear energy program.

Sheikh Khalid said: “Iran is saying that it is a peaceful program, and we welcome that."

Sheikh Khalid also said Shiite activists arrested by the government in August were provided with international support.

Sheikh Khalid said: “The issue, the message, the mentality, the doctrine they are following isn’t only local. It is regional, and they do get a lot of training, a lot of expertise, from the region. But now, I didn’t point any fingers at Iran.”

Since August, when a crackdown on opposition activists led to 23 being charged with terrorism offenses, protesters hurling Molotov cocktails and stones have repeatedly clashed with security forces and several hundred have been arrested.

Bahrainis voted today in the country’s third parliamentary elections. There were 146 candidates competing for 40 seats in the lower house of parliament. About 318,000 people were registered to vote.

About 60 to 70 percent of the island nation’s population is Shia Muslim. The ruling family is Sunni.