Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chirac Says Iran Risk 'Error' on Nuclear Programs

Emma Vandore, Bloomberg:
French President Jacques Chirac said Iran and North Korea risk making a ``serious error'' by pursuing nuclear activities in defiance of international agreements. ``The international community has an imperative to make agreements respected for the security of everyone,'' Chirac told ambassadors to France today in a New Year's address in Paris. Iran and North Korea ``would be committing a serious error in not taking the hand we are offering them.'' READ MORE

Both countries are spurning international efforts aimed at tempering their nuclear ambitions. Iran said today it removed seals on its nuclear research centers to prepare for the resumption of work on the nuclear fuel cycle, ending a two-year suspension, Agence France-Presse reported.

The European Union, represented by Britain, France and Germany, has offered closer trade ties as long as Iran's leaders abandon uranium enrichment and reprocessing needed for weapons. The next EU-Iran session is scheduled for Jan. 18 in Vienna, the seat of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran, under threat since September of United Nations penalties over its atomic program, says it is pursuing nuclear technology for civilian use. The U.S. and EU are concerned over an arms race in the Middle East. The U.S., which says Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons, said that the country may be referred to the UN Security Council because of its plans.

North Korea's government on Jan. 3 said through its Korean Central News Agency it won't resume six-party talks on giving up its nuclear weapons program unless the U.S. lifts sanctions against the country for allegedly engaging in counterfeiting and money laundering.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emma Vandore in Paris at evandore@bloomberg.net.