November deadline for Iran a 'moment of truth': French envoy
NEW YORK (AFP) Sep 25, 2004
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier Friday said Iran's controversial nuclear program could be referred to the UN Security Council if the world is not reassured about its nuclear ambitions.
"We are waiting clearly from Iran gestures and decisions that will reassure us," Barnier said in a lunch with French media on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
"Since there is a trust problem, dates have been set," he said, referring to a November 25 deadline for Iran to clear up suspicions over its activities or risk having the issue referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions -- something the United States has sought.
The International Atomic Energy Agency set the November deadline in a resolution it passed Saturday.
"It will be a moment of truth," Barnier said, referring to the deadline. "I do not know for certain, but I have the feeling that the gravity of this moment has been well understood (by Tehran)."
"If I am proven wrong, or if we do not obtain these gestures, we will see through what conditions to pass to next step, which is the Security Council," Barnier said. "But we are not there yet."
The IAEA resolution also demands that Iran halt all activities related to uranium enrichment, a part of the nuclear fuel cycle that can be used for both energy and weapons purposes.
Tehran's Islamic clerical regime has repeatedly insisted that its nuclear program is intended for domestic energy needs.
Iran Friday insisted it would do everything possible to reassure a jittery world about its nuclear program.
"While we insist on our right to technology for peaceful purposes, we have and will leave no stone unturned in order to provide assurances of our peaceful intentions," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said at the United Nations.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.