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Saudi Prince Urges Mideast Counterbalance to Iran's 'Nuclear Know-How'

Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal speaks during a November 2011 press conference in Washington. The former Riyadh intelligence director and ambassador to Washington wants to see a nuclear counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al-Faisal speaks during a November 2011 press conference in Washington. The former Riyadh intelligence director and ambassador to Washington wants to see a nuclear counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

A former Saudi intelligence chief urged Persian Gulf nations to mount a proportional response to possible nuclear dangers from Iran, Reuters reports.

"Preserving our regional security requires that we, as a Gulf grouping, work to create a real balance of forces with [Iran], including in nuclear know-how," Turki al-Faisal, a member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, said in prepared remarks to a Wednesday gathering in Bahrain.

The region should "be ready for any possibility in relation to the Iranian nuclear file," he added. "Any violation of this balance will allow the Iranian leadership to exploit all holes to do harm to us."

The Saudi prince issued the warning several months into a multilateral effort to craft long-term limitations on Iran's nuclear activities, which Washington and its allies worry could be geared toward development of a bomb capability. Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are peaceful, but it has discussed the potential restrictions in a bid to win sanctions relief from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany.

Turki said Arab countries in the region are concerned about Iran's nuclear aims, in spite of the global effort to rein in specific activities that Tehran might tap to build atomic arms.

"At the [same] time when we hope that the ongoing nuclear talks between [Iran] and world powers reach the desired aim by halting its nuclear ambitions with definite guarantees, we have to be careful until this is a firm reality," he said.

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