WASHINGTON — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak agreed in talks with US President Barack Obama Monday that the global community should send a "clear signal" to Iran over its controversial nuclear program.
The United States is leading an effort to toughen sanctions within weeks on Iran over its nuclear program, which the United States and allies say is aimed at producing weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Obama and Najib met ahead of the start of a landmark 47-nation summit in Washington Monday aimed at depriving terror groups of nuclear weapons, among other objectives.
"The President and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of Iran strictly abiding by its obligations under the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," a White House statement said.
"The two Leaders also agreed on the need for the international community to send a clear signal to Iran that while it has the right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Iran should not use this right to develop nuclear weapons capability as stated in UNSC and IAEA resolutions," the statement said.
Iran, which is at loggerheads with the United States over its atomic program, is not represented at the nuclear summit.
But the US State Department has said that efforts to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear program will be a "significant" topic during the talks.
Iran has been under mounting global pressure to abandon its nuclear program, with Western powers fearing it wants to build an atomic bomb. Tehran says the programme is peaceful and only meant to produce energy.
Iran has already been slapped with three sets of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and the specter of more looms, spearheaded by Washington and some western nations.
Ahead of Najib's arrival in Washington, Malaysia passed a law to curb the trafficking of nuclear weapon components after being linked to illegal supply of sensitive technology to countries including Iran and Libya.
The Strategic Trade Bill, approved by Parliament about week ago, provides for prison terms of at least five years and fines of millions of dollars for those illegally bringing in or exporting material that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction.
The new law follows the government's denial late last year of involvement in the illegal 2008 export of nuclear weapons to Iran although it confirmed the involvement of one of its nationals.
Najib also stated in the talks with Obama that Malaysia was ready to consider "capacity building" in cooperation with Afghanistan through the training of police, military personnel and civilian administrators, the White House said.
Malaysia at present provides training to Afghan teachers and public officials.
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