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. Britain presses Iran to tackle nuclear concerns after vote
LONDON (AFP) Jun 25, 2005
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw pressed Iran Saturday to take quick steps to address mounting concerns over its suspect nuclear program, following the victory of hardliner Mahmood Ahmedinejad in the presidential elections.

"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, Straw said.

"We will work hard with our EU partners and bilaterally, to encourage action by Iran in these areas," Straw, who along with France and Germany has been holding EU-led talks with Iran over its nuclear program, added in a statement.

The British foreign secretary also noted "serious deficiencies" in Friday's election process, which he said fell short of international standards, including charges of interference by security forces.

"Many candidates, including all the women, were barred from standing by an unelected body," Straw said, noting that many more potential candidates were deterred by election procedures.

The Iranian people "should be able to vote for candidates who hold the full range of political views, not just candidates selected for them," he said.

The United States has accused Tehran of building a nuclear bomb and wants the country brought before the UN Security Council -- but Iran says it is only developing nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Observers and diplomats in Tehran said the win by Ahmedinejad, the mayor of Tehran, would likely force the nuclear talks onto a difficult path, predicting a more aggressive stance by Tehran in its quest to beef up its nuclear technology.

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.

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