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. France calls for Iran to continue working towards nuclear halt
PARIS (AFP) Jun 25, 2005
France wants Iran to continue working towards a halt in its nuclear activities, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Saturday after the election of hardliner Mahmood Ahmedinejad as president of the Islamic republic.

"We express the hope that the newly-elected Iranian authorities will continue the work that we European diplomats began with the aim of suspending nuclear activities," Douste-Blazy said.

France is working with Britain, Germany and the European Union to secure Iranian approval not to produce enriched uranium that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists on its right to enrich, but says it intends only to produce peaceful nuclear energy.

Douste-Blazy said last week that there seemed to have been an easing of tension recently, but that the election result might have an impact on Iran's future attitude.

However a diplomat from one of the three EU countries negotiating with Iran since December said it would have no influence on the EU's demand that the Islamic republic guarantee that it is not making nuclear weapons.

Britain also pressed Iran Saturday to take quick steps to address mounting concerns over its suspect nuclear program following Ahmedinejad's victory.

"I hope that under Mr Ahmedinejad's presidency, Iran will take early steps to address international concerns about its nuclear programme" as well as its policies toward terrorism, human rights and the Middle East peace process, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement.

"We will work hard with our EU partners and bilaterally, to encourage action by Iran in these areas," Straw added.

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