Kuwait speaker says U.S. provocative toward Iran

 

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KUWAIT, July 14 (Reuters) - The United States and other Western countries are dealing in a provocative way with Iran over its nuclear programme and should respect its sovereignty, Kuwait's parliament speaker said.

 

The United States has refused to rule out military action if Iran continues with attempts to enrich uranium, which Washington suspects is aimed at making an atomic bomb but the Islamic Republic says is peaceful.

 

Jassem al-Kharafi said the West was using double standards in the dispute by trying to stop Iran's nuclear programme while saying nothing about Israel, which is widely believed to posses the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal. The Jewish state neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons.

 

"I think what is happening with regard to the Iranian nuclear file involves a lot of exaggeration... and the method was provocative,"

state news agency KUNA quoted Kharafi as saying late on Sunday.

 

"The country has its status and strategy in the region and should not be threatened in the way which we saw," he added.

 

Sunni Muslim-ruled Kuwait, a staunch U.S. ally, is home to thousands of U.S. troops.

 

Kuwaiti officials rarely criticise the United States, which led a multi-national coalition to end the 1990-91 Iraqi occupation of the Gulf Arab oil exporter.

 

"Such a sensitive issue requires the language of dialogue, not escalation...It is necessary to respect Iran's sovereignty because a resolution will not be reached by treating it like a U.S. state," he said.