Blair says will wait for UN report on Iran before judging nuclear claims
BERLIN (AFP) Feb 12, 2004
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday the international community should reserve judgment on whether Iran has a nuclear weapons program until the UN atomic energy watchdog issues a report in March.

Asked if he was concerned about accusations that Iran may have gone back on a commitment made to foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany in October to come clean on its nuclear program and suspend the enrichment of uranium, Blair said he would wait to judge.

"The good thing about the situation we helped to bring about is that the International Atomic Energy Agency are now committed in Iran and they'll produce a report I think in March and that is a report that can go through all these issues," he said.

"I think probably rather than me comment at this stage, we should wait until they make that report then. They, as the international commission looking at these things, are best placed to do that," he told a news conference after talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin.

The IAEA's board of governors is to meet March 8 to review the situation in Iran, following an ultimatum that expired last October 31 for the Islamic republic to reveal all details of its nuclear program.

In Berlin Thursday, US undersecretary of state John Bolton said there was "no doubt that Iran continues a nuclear program".

"We'll be looking seriously at what to do about Iran," he said, adding that the next steps could be taken in cooperation with Britain, France and Germany.

Meanwhile Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi insisted Thursday on a visit to Rome that Tehran had a "legitimate right" to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes but denied it had any intention to develop nuclear weapons.