Iran: Middle East security at risk

Iran Materials 22 November 2007 17:29 (UTC +04:00)

( CNN ) - Iran's chief nuclear negotiator warned on Thursday that any threat against Tehran would undermine the stability of the entire Middle East.

Saeed Jalili told reporters at a seminar in the Iranian capital that meddling in Iran's security would have a "domino effect" across the region.

Jaili's comments were made with Iran under growing pressure from the U.S. and other western countries to curtail its nuclear program. Iran insists it wants to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes and deplores the use of atomic weapons.

But the U.S. fears Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction, prompting speculation that it could take military action if sanctions and diplomatic negotations fail.

"The world knows that any meddling in Iran's security will have a domino effect," said Jalili, who is due to meet European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana next week in Europe. "We are ready to protect our own security and regional security as well."

Jalili added that any attack on Iran would have to answer to the world community, and claimed Iran enjoyed significant authority and respect for its "positive role" in promoting peace and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He also reiterated Iran's right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes and said Iran supported global nuclear disarmanent.

"All the countries that believe proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or even the availability of weapons of mass destruction would be detrimental to international peace and security can cooperate with us on this common view," he said.

"We believe that such weapons are illegal, illigitimate and even ineffective."