France in Iran 'crisis' warning

2nd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - Iran's decision to resume its nuclear activities may spark "a major international crisis" and a forceful response from the UN Security Council, France said Tuesday in a sign of increasing EU pressure on Tehran.

PARIS, Aug 2 (AFP) - Iran's decision to resume its nuclear activities may spark "a major international crisis" and a forceful response from the UN Security Council, France said Tuesday in a sign of increasing EU pressure on Tehran.

"The Iran matter seems very serious to me -- it may trigger a major international crisis because, if Iran doesn't go back on its decision, then Iran will be, I would say, in a purely unilateral position," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by President Jacques Chirac.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin warned that Iran must abide by a deal with the European Union to suspend its nuclear programme or face UN Security Council retribution.

"Iran must honour the commitments it has made. These commitments are commitments suspending all activity, conversion, treatment and enrichment of uranium," Villepin told Europe 1 radio just before the cabinet meeting.

If Tehran refuses, "the international community will be forced to draw conclusions... with consensus, with dialogue," he said.

"And the Security Council will be called on if Iran refuses to comply."

Iran on Monday told the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that it would imminently resume uranium ore conversion, the precursor to enrichment in the nuclear fuel cycle.

The resumption was in breach of a deal with France, Britain and Germany under which Tehran agreed to suspend its nuclear activities in return for trade benefits.

The United States fears Iran wants to use its nuclear programme to build atomic bombs.

Douste-Blazy said Iran's declaration about converting uranium "seems to us a pretext to take a unilateral decision."

He said the UN Security Council could consider unspecified "sanctions" in response.

"We are proposing, we Europeans, an extraordinary meeting as soon as possible of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors to ask the international community to say and to spell out very strongly and firmly to the Iranians that they have to return to the negotiating table," the minister said.

"If the Iranians don't accept what the board of governors offers them, then the international community should, I believe, go to the Security Council... (and) we'll then see what sanctions are applied to Iran."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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