France says UN sanctions still needed against Iran

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

An accord between Iran and Turkey on uranium enrichment resolves only a side issue and France will still push for UN sanctions against Tehran's nuclear programme, Paris declared Monday.

France, which has taken the lead in demanding new UN measures against Iran, warned that Tehran's agreement to send nuclear fuel to Turkey to be enriched to fuel its medical research reactor was a possible distraction.

"Let's not be duped by this," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said. "A solution for the medical reactor, while necessary, would in no way resolve the problem posed by the Iranian nuclear programme.

"The exchange of uranium that is envisaged amounts to a confidence gesture, a side issue," he told reporters.

"The heart of the Iranian nuclear problem is its pursuit of enrichment at Natanz, its construction of a heavy water reactor at Arak, the concealment of its site at Qom and the unanswered questions posed by IAEA inspectors.

"It is these constant violations of resolution of the UN Security Council and the IAEA council of governors that Iran must halt immediately," he said.

"That is why we and our UN Security Council partners are preparing new sanctions in New York," he added.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that it would be for the UN's International Atomic Agency Authority (IAEA) to pronounce on the deal signed Monday by Turkey, Brazil and Iran.

The minister warned Tehran that there had been "progress" towards new sanctions in recent days.

© 2010 AFP

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