Head of Organization of Islamic Cooperation tells Haaretz at Doha conference that Tehran has right to peaceful nuclear program, rejects military intervention.
DOHA – There’s no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Prof. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Monday, adding that even a recent and critical report by the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog did not provide concrete of nefarious nuclear ambitions.
Speaking at the Brookings Doha Center, the Turkish diplomat, who many see as a natural successor to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, also said, in response to an Haaretz query, that every country had a right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
Ihsanoğlu said an outside interference was unlikely to change or alleviate the situation in Iran, citing Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan as instances in which intervention only served to hurt the citizens of those countries.
However, the OIC chief urged the Arab world to increase pressure on Syria in order to end the ongoing crisis there, saying that Arab nations were successful in sparking change in Yemen, where diplomatic efforts led to a regime change.
Prof. İhsanoğlu added that the Islamic states failed to realize their intention to end the Syrian crisis, saying “promises weren’t kept, meetings were canceled.”
“If the regime in Syria continues to ignore pressures we’ll witness more bloodshed, but eventfully no regime can ignore the will of the people,” the OIC chief added.
Regarding the Arab Peace Initiative, which the OIC backed 9 years ago, İhsanoğlu added that the offer was still on the table, adding that he felt it was the only way to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
According to the initiative, the Arab League proposed in March 2001, all 57 Muslim states would normalize their relations with Israel, in return for Israel withdrawing to the 1967 lines and offering a satisfactory solution for Palestinian refugees, in accordance with UN resolution 194.
İhsanoğlu said he felt that Arab Spring movements would help Israel and Arab governments to resolve their differences, adding that the new governments in the Middle East express the national aspirations of the Arab people, and they sympathize with the Palestinian people.
In the face of fears that the Arab Spring would lead to war, the Turkish diplomat said that “only dictators initiate wars,” congratulating the Palestinian leadership for taking the initiative in its bid to join UNESCO.
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