RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has urged Iran to avoid escalation in its standoff with the West over its nuclear program and called for a solution that would allow Tehran to use atomic energy for peaceful purposes.

King Abdullah’s remarks, published on Thursday, come a week after Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Iran’s Gulf neighbors were willing to set up a body to provide it with enriched uranium.

“The world fears that Iran’s nuclear program will lead to developing nuclear weapons. Iran has announced its nuclear program is intended for peaceful use,” the king said in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine, carried by the official Saudi news agency SPA.

“If this is the case, then we don’t see any justification for escalation, confrontation and challenge, which only makes issues more complicated.”

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries share U.S. concerns that Iran’s nuclear energy program is a cover for developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its plans are peaceful.

Gulf states have announced plans to begin their own nuclear energy program, raising concern over an arms race in the world’s top oil exporting region.

Full article here.  In a nutshell, the Saudis are hoping that hostilities won’t break out between Iran and the U.S. because it will likely interfere with the legitimate plans of governments within the Gulf States region to build nuclear energy plants to help them meet growing electricity demand there.

Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are all gearing up for atomic power.  If nations in the largest oil-producing region of the world are placing their bets on nuclear energy, it does give one pause, doesn’t it?  But they’re just following the course of certain other developed nations … China and Japan are already well on their way to becoming more reliant on nuclear energy; France is producing 80 percent of its electrical needs with it; Belgium, 70 percent; and even Lithuania, 90 percent.

And the U.S.?  Still stuck in the mud, we’re afraid.