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Gates: Arab World Should Unite to Counter Iran Threat

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says American allies in the Arab world should strengthen their military capabilities to deter Iran from seeking nuclear weapons.

In an interview with the Arabic network Al-Jazeera released Tuesday, Gates says if Iran proceeds with its nuclear program, it could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the entire region.

But he says one way to get the Iranians to change their approach on the nuclear issue is to persuade them that developing atomic weapons will jeopardize their security, not enhance it.

Also Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Iran will deliver new proposals on Wednesday to six world powers trying to negotiate with Tehran on its nuclear program.

He did not specify where and how the proposals will be delivered.

Mottaki's comments came a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will not negotiate on its "right" to develop nuclear technology.

But Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran will discuss ways to cooperate on the "peaceful use" of nuclear energy.

Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain) have been seeking dialogue with Iran on its nuclear program.

The Security Council has issued three sets of sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

The United States and its Western allies have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.