The report, which outlined NATO strategy, envisioned an Iranian attack
on Europe by 2020, Middle East Newsline reported. NATO contains a principle known as Article 5 in which an
attack against one member triggers a response by its colleagues.
"Iran's efforts to enrich nuclear fuel, develop nuclear weapons designs,
and stockpile long-range ballistic missiles could create a major Article 5
threat to the alliance in this decade," the report, titled "NATO 2020:
Assured Security, Dynamic Engagement," said.
The 55-page report, meant for submission to the NATO summit in November
2010, deemed the Middle East a key area for the Western alliance. NATO cited
Iran, the Arab-Israel conflict and Al Qaida as leading security threats to
member states, and urged cooperation with the Middle East and North Africa.
"Iran’s conventional weapons programmes, especially its anti-ship cruise
missiles, raise concerns about the security of critical maritime trading
routes," the report said. "Given the abundant international diplomatic
activity focused on Iran and the obscurity of Teheran's intentions, it is
unclear whether the difficulties posed by Iran will multiply or diminish in
the years ahead. NATO should do all it can to encourage the latter
possibility, while preparing itself for the former."
In 2004, NATO launched the so-called Istanbul Cooperation Initiative to
improve relations with the Middle East. So far, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and
the United Arab Emirates have joined ICI.
Seven Middle East states have been cooperating with NATO since 1994
under the Mediterranean Dialogue program. The report said the 2004
initiative has been hampered by competition among Western powers.
"Although potentially valuable, the ICI has been held back by a lack of
common strategic vision and by rivalries among the partners and some
allies," the report said. "Nonetheless, like the Mediterranean Dialogue, the
ICI is helping to build needed security relationships and to open channels
for regular dialogue."