Britain keeps 'strong' stand on Iran nuclear effort

21st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain will maintain its "strong" opposition to Iran's nuclear program, Foreign Secretary William Hague warned the Iranian foreign minister during talks here Wednesday, a spokesman said.

Hague and Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi held talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Such talks are rare as Western nations have stepped up accusations that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb.

Britain respects Iran's right to civil nuclear power "but Iran had not persuaded the international community that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes," a spokesman quoted Hague as saying.

"There were important areas of disagreement between the UK and Iran," the minister added.

Britain, as part of a six-nation alliance negotiating with Iran, would "maintain its strong resolve to oppose nuclear proliferation," Hague said.

The UN Security Council has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program and there have been calls for more action.

Hague also raised the case of a 17-year-old youth executed in Iran on Wednesday.

The British minister said the execution of Alireza Molla-Soltani contravened Iran's obligations under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and "had caused huge international concern."

Authorities staged a public hanging of the teenager who had been convicted of killing an athlete, Iranian media reported.

Iran is one of the world's most prolific execution nations.

Hague said there was "no animosity between the British people and the Iranian people" and that Britain "would continue to seek areas on which it could build deeper cooperation with Iran, such as counter-narcotics and Afghanistan."

© 2011 AFP

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