'International crisis' if Iranrejects EU proposals: France

5th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - The world will face a "major international crisis" if Iran rejects European proposals aimed at ensuring it cannot develop a nuclear arsenal, France said Friday, calling on the international community to be firm.

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - The world will face a "major international crisis" if Iran rejects European proposals aimed at ensuring it cannot develop a nuclear arsenal, France said Friday, calling on the international community to be firm.

"We must be very firm" in demanding that Iran responds favourably to the proposals it received earlier Friday from European Union negotiators France, Britain and Germany, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said.

Only acceptance by Tehran of the security and nuclear cooperation guarantees made in the offer could avert the issue being brought to the International Atomic Energy Agency and from there to the UN Security Council, he said.

An extraordinary meeting of the IAEA's board of governors is scheduled for next Tuesday to discuss Iran's threats to resume uranium ore conversion in violation of an agreement to suspend all nuclear activities in exchange for the offers made Friday.

The meeting "is to ask the whole of the international community to tell Iran one last time that it has to choose the path of reason," Douste-Blazy said.

"If Iran ends up not accepting (the proposals) then the matter will have to go to the Security Council and that could effectively be the start of a major international crisis," he said.

The French foreign ministry said the EU offer recognised Iran's "inalienable" right to civilian nuclear energy as long as it does not violate the terms of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

Spokeswoman Cecile Pozzo di Borgo said the propositions were made "so as to take into account the points raised by the Iranians during the negotiations" and "constitute a global offer."

She said they covered the areas of politics and security, the Iranian civilian nuclear programme, and economic and technological cooperation.

"A high-level committee will be tasked" with following the issues of cooperation in non-proliferation, regional security, terrorism and combating drug-trafficking, she said.

"Iran can have access to civilian nuclear technologies within the framework of international tenders," Pozzo di Borgo added.

"It can have continued access to the international nuclear energy market and benefit from cooperation in this area. The Europeans guarantee the durable supply to Iran of nuclear fuel for its power stations.

"Also, the Europeans have expressed their readiness to put in place a framework for providing additional guarantees on the issue of fuel supply."

Pozzo di Borgo said that cooperation "implies Iran's engagement in respecting confidence-building mechanisms" and it immediately complying with and ratifying an additional International Atomic Energy Agency protocol, and working with the IAEA "to resolve all outstanding issues."

"The Europeans recognise the importance of energy cooperation and are ready to consider Iran as a source of long-term energy supply," she added.

Consequently, the European Union pledges to promote trade, investment and technology transfers, to work towards an EU-Iran trade and cooperation agreement, and "to provide political support for Iran's accession to the WTO (World Trade Organisation)."

It also promises to develop long-term scientific and technological cooperation in various areas, as well as helping with communications, education and training, transport, tourism and seismology.

Progress under the agreement would be reviewed every 10 years at ministerial level, the spokeswoman said.

"We await the reaction of the Iranian authorities to these proposals and we are ready to discuss with the Iranians their suggestions for a long-term agreement -- on condition that the suspension of the (Iran's nuclear) activities agreed under the Paris accord is not jeopardised," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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