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Tehran welcomes remarks by Saudi crown prince

TEHRAN, June 2 (AFP) - Iran welcomed as "positive" on Wednesday remarks by Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz on relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic.

"The positive remarks by Prince Abdullah regarding relations between our two countries reflect the prevailing atmosphere of realism and transparency in our ties," the official IRNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi as saying.

Kharazi, who described Tehran-Riyadh ties as "brilliant," underlined the importance the two Gulf countries can have in establishing peace and security in the region.

"Considering that Tehran-Riyadh ties are expanding on the basis of transparency, I am certain that any concerns regarding each other have been replaced by trust and cooperation," the Iranian official said.

In remarks published Tuesday, Crown Prince Abdullah defended Iran's right to boost its military power saying "Iran has the right to develop its military capabilities to ensure its security without harming or damaging the rights of others."

"All the countries of the world follow the same path. Why should a question be raised over Iran? Why aren't such questions raised over Israel's unlimited development of arms?" the crown prince asked in an interview with the London-based Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.

Prince Abdullah also said that last month's historic visit to the Saudi kingdom by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, the first by an Iranian head of state since the 1979 Islamic revolution, had allowed the two states "to develop their bilateral relations in quantative and qualitative terms."


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