Muslim nations warn of dangers of Iran nuclear row

"It is vital that all issues must be resolved through diplomacy and there must be no resort to use of force."

Ahmadinejad hands 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Ahmadinejad hands 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Seven Muslim nations have warned of a "dangerous escalation of tension" over Iran's nuclear program and urged that the standoff be resolved without resorting to force. The statement of concern came after ministers from Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan met to seek ways to resolve the conflicts involving Iraq and the Palestinians, as well as Iran. "The ministers viewed with deep concern the dangerous escalation of tension especially over the Iranian nuclear issue," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri quoted from a joint statement after the meeting. "It is vital that all issues must be resolved through diplomacy and there must be no resort to use of force," he said. "There is need for de-escalation instead of aggravation and confrontation in the Gulf region." The United States and several of its Western allies fear that Iran is using its nuclear program to produce an atomic weapon _ charges Iran denies, saying its aim is to generate electricity. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, while visiting Australia on Saturday, criticized Iran's defiance of a U.N. deadline for freezing its uranium enrichment programs. Cheney said that while the U.S. seeks a peaceful resolution with Iran, "all options" were on the table. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said his country would move forward with its disputed nuclear program despite international demands that it halt uranium enrichment, comparing Iran's program to a train without brakes, state-run radio reported. Sunday's meeting, also attended by the secretary general of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference, was supposed to lay the groundwork for a summit of Muslim leaders in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. No dates have been announced for that meeting. While expressing concern that violence in Iraq is a cause for "deep distress and anxiety to all Muslims," the ministers urged the Iraqi government to work for "national reconciliation" in the strife-torn country, Kasuri said. On Palestine, the ministers urged the international community to give financial help to the Palestinians following a power sharing deal last month between President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction and the Hamas militant group to share power, he said.