WASHINGTON: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is driving worried Gulf countries into US arms with his threats to expand Tehran’s suspect nuclear programme, the top American general in the region said on Sunday.
“President Ahmadinejad and the Irani (Iranian) leaders continue to be the best recruiters for Central Command as we embark on our partnership plans,” General David Petraeus said on Fox News.
“They’ve caused enormous worry and concern by those on the western side of the Gulf,” said Petraeus, the head of US Central Command.
He also said most experts question Iran’s ability to build 10 more uranium enrichment plants, “or anything remotely approaching that”, as the Iranian leader threatened last week.
Ahmadinejad issued the threat after the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, censured it for building a second undeclared uranium enrichment plant, which the United States fears is aimed at producing fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad, spurning a Western offer for foreign countries to enrich its uranium for a research nuclear reactor in Tehran, has gone on to vow that Iran would enrich its uranium stockpile to 20 per cent on its own.