Annan Warning Over Iran 'Crisis'
The UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, today warned that the confrontation over Iran's nuclear programme was a "crisis" that the international community had to address urgently. Mr Annan said only a negotiated settlement would resolve the dispute over Tehran's uranium enrichment programme, which the US claims is a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.
"It is a crisis in the sense [that] we need to work very actively," Mr Annan said in a speech at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo. READ MORE
The standoff between Iran and the US has become increasingly tense since Tehran dismissed a package of EU-proposed incentives to suspend its uranium enrichment.
Mr Annan said it was his "strong hope that the current discussions in the security council will give new momentum to the quest for a negotiated solution".
He said there was "a need to lower the temperature, and refrain from actions and rhetoric that could further inflame the situation", warning of an increase in global tensions and "unwelcome delays in resolving the matter".
However, talks on Iran were postponed yesterday, highlighting differences between the US, the UK and Germany on one side and China and Russia on the other.
The talks had been due to take place in London tomorrow, but have now been delayed until Tuesday at the earliest, diplomats said.
Earlier this week, the EU said it could add a light water reactor to a package of incentives intended to persuade Iran to permanently give up uranium enrichment.
A light water reactor is considered less likely to be used for nuclear proliferation than a heavy water facility, which produces plutonium waste.
The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, yesterday dismissed the proposal and compared it to offering "walnuts and chocolates" to a child in exchange for gold.