Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf says Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. General Musharraf spoke in Davos, Switzerland, as the West and Iran continue to clash over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program.
Speaking during a session at the World Economic Forum, President Musharraf defended his own country's acquisition of nuclear weapons in 1998 as a legitimate act of defensive deterrence.
Pakistan's neighbor and rival, India, also possesses nuclear weapons. But President Musharraf expressed doubt that Iran had the right to pursue a nuclear weapons program.
"Every country has the right to defend its security if its security is threatened. So, technically, I would say if Iran's security is threatened, then they have the right to go nuclear. Under the present circumstances, I don't think their security is threatened. Therefore, I presume they need not go nuclear," he said.
General Musharraf was one of several Muslim leaders to comment on the issue during the special session in Davos. Others on the panel, including Queen Rania of Jordan and the leader of Iraq's National Assembly, rejected the notion of any government acquiring nuclear weapons.
So did Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "I think nobody should be nuclear powered," he said.
Their remarks come as both Iran and the United States have expressed interest in a Russian proposal to resolve the nuclear standoff. Moscow has suggested Iran's nuclear fuel could be enriched on Russian soil.
Iran says its enrichment program is for peaceful, civilian purposes, but Western governments fear it could be used to make a nuclear weapon.