Europe in holding pattern on Iran negotiations

13th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, Aug 12 (AFP) - France will wait for a report next month by the UN nuclear agency on Iran's controversial atomic program before deciding what steps to take next, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Friday.

GENEVA, Aug 12 (AFP) - France will wait for a report next month by the UN nuclear agency on Iran's controversial atomic program before deciding what steps to take next, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Friday.

At an emergency meeting Thursday the 35-nation board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called upon Iran to halt nuclear fuel cycle work and ordered the UN watchdog to report on September 3 on Tehran's compliance with international safeguards.

"We're waiting for the report," Douste-Blazy said during a visit to the UN's European headquarters. "We'll see what happens ... We'll decide what we need to do."

Iran's drive to develop the technology to produce nuclear fuel has raised fears in the West as the same processes are used to make the core for nuclear bombs, and Tehran kept parts of its program hidden for nearly two decades.

Tehran has insisted its nuclear program is only aimed at producing electricity.

Britain, France and Germany led talks on behalf of the EU to convince the Islamic Republic to give up its efforts to produce nuclear fuel, submitting to Iran earlier this month a package of economic and political incentives.

Tehran rejected the offer and restarted preliminary fuel work, and has dismissed the IAEA demand it abandon work on developing nuclear fuel.

But both Iran and the EU countries have said they are willing to keep talking.

"We think negotiations are still possible ... on the condition that the Iranians suspend (nuclear fuel) activities" as was agreed when talks began last year, said Douste-Blazy.

The minister declined to speculate what would happen if Iran refused to accede to IAEA demands to halt nuclear fuel work, saying "we're not there yet."

The European Union and the United States have warned they will try to have the IAEA report Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions if it does not cooperate.

"The international community is united" on the Iranian nuclear program, said Douste-Blazy.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Iran, nuclear, IAEA

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