Israeli FM urges Europe's big three to pressurise Iran over nuclear programme
PARIS (AFP) Aug 25, 2004
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called on France, Britain and Germany to intensify their diplomatic pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.

After meeting here with French counterpart Michel Barnier Shalom said they had agreed on the urgency of the issue.

"We discussed the need to intensify the diplomatic pressure on Iran to ensure their success. Mr Barnier and I agreed on the urgent need to address the threat posed to the entire international community by Iran's nuclear program," he said

"Israel welcomes the efforts of France, together with Germany and Britain, to deal with this matter," Shalom added, speaking in English.

Both the US and Israel are convinced that, under cover of producing nuclear power, the Islamic republic is secretly developing an atomic bomb, something Tehran strenuously denies.

Under an agreement reached last year with Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment, allow tougher inspections and file a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear activities.

The suspension agreement was aimed at "building confidence" while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted a major probe into Iran's bid to generate electricity through nuclear power -- seen by the United States as a cover for secret weapons development.

Since the agreement, Tehran has backed away from the pledge to suspend all enrichment-related activities, the IAEA has found omissions in Iran's reporting and inspection visits have been delayed.

And on July 31, Iran announced it had resumed making parts for centrifuges used for enriching uranium, dealing a fresh blow to European efforts to limit the scope of its nuclear programme.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in New Zealand Tuesday that Iran would retaliate if Israel attacked its nuclear facilities.

Shalom was due to leave France on Thursday.