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Britain, France, Germany to meet on Iran nuclear dispute, Straw says - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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LONDON (AP) – Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw plans to meet his French and German counterparts Thursday to discuss whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.

Straw said Iran’s decision to break seals on its nuclear facilities was a serious error “that we internationally have to consider.”

He planned to meet with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Thursday to discuss the next step.

The three European countries have been spearheading diplomatic efforts over the past two years on behalf of the EU in an attempt to persuade Iran to halt any uranium enrichment and conversion activities.

“The issue of referral to the Security Council will be at the top of the agenda,” Straw said. “I think it is clear the direction in which we are thinking.”

Iran said Tuesday it had removed the seals on its nuclear research facilities, allowing work to resume despite concern from Western countries over its nuclear ambitions. Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful, civilian purposes. The United States and other countries, however, believe the clerical regime is intent on

developing a nuclear bomb.

Straw said he was “profoundly concerned” by the development, which he said placed Tehran in breach of resolutions passed by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“There was no good reason why Iran should have taken this step if its intentions are truly peaceful and it wanted to resolve long-standing international concerns,” he added. He ruled out military action and said the matter had to be “resolved by peaceful means” and a “good deal of diplomatic and other pressure.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s official spokesman said Britain shared the view of IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei “that the international community is running out of patience.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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