ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Leaders of six US-allied Gulf Arab nations opened two days of talks here Monday, dominated by their growing concern over Iran's disputed nuclear program, with one senior military official calling for greater Gulf cooperation in missile defense.
The annual summit in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is held in the wake of the publication of leaked US diplomatic memos that revealed deeper concern by Gulf leaders over Iran's nuclear program than had previously been expressed publicly — even a desire by several to see the United States destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.
The summit coincides with the start in Geneva on Monday of a new round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers and comes a day after Iran said it had delivered its first domestically mined raw uranium to a processing facility, claiming self-sufficiency over the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
The West says Iran's nuclear program is geared toward acquiring nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, insisting that its objective is to generate electricity. Ahead of the talks, a senior Emirates military commander underlined the need for a region-wide missile defense system, warning of the threat of ballistic missiles — a thinly veiled reference to Iran's missile program.
"We must be prepared to defend our people, our nation and our region against any emerging threat," Maj. Gen. Ali al-Kaabi, the UAE's deputy chief of staff, told a defense conference on Sunday, according to the state-backed daily The National.