EU needs 'further measures' against Iran: Britain's Hague

10th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Union should take "further measures" against Iran in addition to new UN sanctions, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after talks in Berlin on Thursday.

"I think it is very important that the European Union does take further measures to show that the European Union is prepared on this subject and others to use its weight in the world," Hague told reporters.

"It is very important that we give that lead. But the discussion of specific measures is of course something we will have to do with our colleagues from other nations."

Hague and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said after their talks, which also included British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, that EU foreign ministers would discuss the issue at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

Westerwelle however was non-committal on whether Germany, which has close commercial ties with Iran but which was strident in its calls for fresh UN sanctions, supported further steps from the 27-nation EU.

On Wednesday the UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over the Islamic republic's nuclear programme, with all five veto-wielding members including China and Russia voting in favour.

"We have a crystal-clear position. It is unacceptable to either the British or German governments for Iran to get nuclear weapons," Westerwelle said.

"It is not our aim to target the people of Iran with these sanctions ... Our objective is to bring the Iranian leadership back to negotiations. Corresponding offers are still on the table and it is up to Iran to respond."

Hague said: "It (the resolution on sanctions) is a clear signal to Iran that a refusal to negotiate over its whole nuclear programme will not work.

"In the face of that refusal we will increase the peaceful and legitimate pressure on Iran to show that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes."

© 2010 AFP

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