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'Iran’s nuke activity would destabilise region'

world Updated: Jul 09, 2009 09:55 IST

PTI
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Noting that Iran is moving forward with its plan to develop and acquire nuclear weapons, a top US military official has apprehended that such a scenario would be incredibly destabilising in the Middle East.

“They (Iran) continue in my view to move forward on the nuclear- weapons development plan,” Admiral Mike Mullen, US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a luncheon meeting at the National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday.

“That potentially is incredibly destabilising in that part of the world, not least of all because they would have a weapon. But what I worry about an awful lot is the beginning or the extension of a nuclear-arms race to that part of the world as well,” Mullen said.

A day earlier, Mullen had said that Iran is just one to three years away from acquiring a nuclear bomb and the clock is fast ticking away.

Mullen said he is encouraged by the intent, to both engage and have a dialogue with him, on the part of the US President Barack Obama. “And yet I do think, you know, the window of opportunity is narrowing, as time goes on here,” he said.

“From a military standpoint, they still continue to move down the road towards nuclear weapons. They are state sponsors of terrorism. They are generally a destabilising influence in the region and still are in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Mullen said.

“I spend a lot of my time on the Middle East and engaged with leaders there, and addressing the issues that challenges us so significantly in that part of the world,” he said.