Monday, January 09, 2006

France Urges Iran to 'Immediately' Reverse Nuclear Fuel Decision

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has urged Iran to instantly reverse its decision to resume highly-sensitive nuclear activities, and voiced France's grave concern at the development.

"We urge Iran to immediately and unconditionally reverse its decision," Douste-Blazy told a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who warned that the situation was "serious". READ MORE

The minister said that France, which along with Britain and Germany has been leading tortuous negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme, was "very seriously concerned" by Tehran's decision.

Iran earlier announced that it would resume nuclear fuel research on Monday, triggering fresh Western warnings that Tehran could face sanctions and wreck talks aimed at ending the dispute over its nuclear programme.

"The effective resumption of these activities would clearly and directly contravene the demands made by the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency," Douste-Blazy said.

"No identifiable civilian need can justify the resumption of these activities today in Iran," he said, adding that "doubts remain whole about the nature of Iran's nuclear programme".

Solana added: "The situation is serious and every effort must be made to convince the Iranians to return to the previous situation, to negotiations." Washington and the European negotiators are seeking guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme -- which Tehran insists is for purely peaceful ends -- is not a cover for weapons development.