German FM urges Iran to remove nuclear 'doubts'

29th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 March 2006, BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday the Iranian leadership needed to remove "all doubts" about its nuclear intentions if it wanted to regain the trust of the international community.

29 March 2006

BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday the Iranian leadership needed to remove "all doubts" about its nuclear intentions if it wanted to regain the trust of the international community.

Steinmeier said no breakthrough had been achieved so far at the UN Security Council about how to deal with the issue of Iran's nuclear programme.

"We're not there yet," he told parliament a day ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the Security Council in Berlin.

Steinmeier said all parties concerned were working to set aside differences over Iran's nuclear activities and agree on a common resolution.

The Security Council has been discussing the issue of possible measures against Iran for three weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency voted in February to refer the matter to the world body.

A French-British draft statement, backed by the United States, would brand Iran's nuclear activities as a threat to international peace and security, language that would trigger UN sanctions. Russia and China are opposed to such language.

The five veto-wielding permanent members are agreed on the need to reinforce the IAEA in its handling of Iran's nuclear programmes, but the US, France and Britain called for UN punitive measures in case Iran failed to comply.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has urged Tehran to heed IAEA demands and to prove to the world the peaceful intent of its nuclear programme, which the US believes is geared to making weapons.

Steinmeier told parliament that Germany also had its reservations about the recent US decision to give India access to long-denied nuclear fuel and technology in return for India opening up many civilian nuclear plants to international inspection.

The deal, announced by US President George W. Bush during a visit to India in early March, "was certainly not helpful" in view of the dispute with Iran, Steinmeier said.

Germany is afraid the deal will encourage Iran to continue with its own uranium enrichment programme.

India had been unable to buy nuclear fuel, parts or equipment from most nations since it refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty and went on to develop a bomb in 1974.

Steinmeier said, however, that Germany would not oppose the deal at the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which has to revise its guidelines to allow New Delhi access to US technology and materials.

DPA

Subject: German news

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