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The defense minister of this major US ally said Monday that Kuwait will not allow the American military to stage an attack on Iran from its territory.
Asked if Washington had made such a request, Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Sabah told reporters: "It hasn't asked, and even if it did we will not allow anybody to use our territories."
Like other Arab states in the Persian Gulf region, Kuwait calls for a peaceful solution to the nuclear standoff between Iran and the West. Kuwait, which is located across the Gulf from Iran, fears Iranian reprisal if Washington decides to use force to destroy the Islamic republic's nuclear facilities, which it suspects are aimed at making nuclear weapons.
Despite United Nations sanctions, Teheran has refused to suspend its controversial program, insisting it will be used for peaceful purposes.
This small oil-rich country has been an ally of Washington since the US-led 1991 Gulf War that liberated it from a seven-month Iraqi occupation under Saddam Hussein. It was the launch pad for the 2003 invasion of Iraq that toppled Hussein, and it remains a vital logistics base for coalition forces serving there.
On Sunday, the Iranian parliament speaker said during a visit to Kuwait it was unlikely Washington would attack his country over the nuclear standoff. Asked how Teheran would respond if the US military used its bases in the Gulf in such an attack, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said "we would have to defend ourselves and it would be normal to respond in kind against thatâ€¦ base if the Islamic republic is targeted."
The speaker, whose comments were translated from Farsi into Arabic, said he doubted countries in the region would allow the US to launch military attacks on Iran from their territories. He said they wouldn't want to "tie their fate to mistakes America makes."
Asked if he discussed the issue with Kuwaiti officials during his visit, he said there was no need to.
Last month, the lower chamber of Bahrain's parliament overwhelmingly approved a ban on the US military staging attacks on Iran from bases in the tiny Gulf kingdom. Bahrain is a close US ally and it hosts the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.