France 'concerned' as Iran ends suspension

1st August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 1 (AFP) - France voiced "concern" Monday at a declaration by Iran that it was ending a nine-month suspension on nuclear development activities agreed with the European Union and resuming uranium ore conversion.

PARIS, Aug 1 (AFP) - France voiced "concern" Monday at a declaration by Iran that it was ending a nine-month suspension on nuclear development activities agreed with the European Union and resuming uranium ore conversion.

"There is no economic or technical justification" for the resumption of the nuclear activities, foreign ministry spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo told journalists.

She added that Paris was "surprised" by Tehran's announcement.

France, Britain and Germany brokered the original deal under which Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear programme in exchange for trade benefits.

The United States fears the programme's aim is to develop nuclear weapons and not just nuclear energy, as claimed by Tehran.

Iran had warned on Sunday that it would resume its conversion work if the EU failed by Monday to come up with a package of trade and security incentives.

However, the Europeans told Tehran they would make the offer by August 7, after Wednesday's swearing-in of ultra-conservative Mahmood Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president.

Pozzo di Borgo said European ministers had confirmed in a letter to Iranian authorities last week that a number of propositions would be presented "before August 7".

"These propositions are generous and open the way to new relations between Iran and Europe," she said.

"In particular, they recognise Iran's rights within the NPT (nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and the option to develop a safe, economically viable and non-proliferating nuclear programme."

She said that if Iran maintained the agreed-upon suspension, "we are ready to engage in discussions on this basis and we call on Iran to study it (the European offer) very seriously."

In a radio interview earlier Monday, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Iran's pressuring tactics were unacceptable, and that Tehran must be prevented from making an atomic bomb.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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