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Blair Threatens Iran With U.N. Action

London (UPI) Jan 11, 2006
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Wednesday for Iran to be referred to the U.N. Security Council over its resumption of nuclear research.

Its decision to remove U.N. seals from the Natanz nuclear facility caused "real and serious alarm" across the world, he said.

Speaking in Parliament, he said European ministers would decide what action to take at a meeting in Berlin Thursday and Britain would then push for Iran to be hauled before the Security Council.

"Then ... we have to decide what measures to take and we obviously don't rule out any measures at all," Blair said.

Blair did not make specific reference to the possibility of military action, but his rhetoric appeared stronger than that of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who said the previous day such a move was not on Britain's agenda, nor did he believe it was on anyone else's.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Tuesday Tehran restarted research and development on uranium enrichment, which it is allowed under its international treaty obligations. Western countries fear Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; however Tehran denies the charges, insisting its nuclear programs are for energy purposes only.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw confirmed he would be meeting with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany and Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief to discuss referral to the Security Council.

"We'll make a decision then ... but I think it's clear the direction in which we're thinking," he said.

Speaking at a London news conference Tuesday, Straw said he was as confident as he could be that the situation would not escalate into military action.

"This is a matter which has to be resolved by peaceful means but it will involve a good deal of diplomatic and other pressure on Iran," he said.

Europe had done everything it could to reach agreement with Iran over its nuclear programs, Straw said.

Iran could have been referred to the Security Council in 2003 when it was revealed the Islamic Republic had been operating covert nuclear programs for 18 years, but the move was suspended in return for Tehran agreeing to suspend uranium enrichment and other activities.

Tehran was now in clear breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which created a "serious situation for the international community."

The fact Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" did not increase the confidence of the international community in the Iranian government, he said, adding: "This is a serious error by Iran."

Britain, France and Germany -- the so-called EU-3 -- held talks with Tehran aimed at ensuring its nuclear programs were peaceful; however these collapsed when Iran ended a temporary ban on enrichment last summer.

Under the NPT, countries are allowed to enrich uranium to a certain level; however the key difficulty is this technology can be used for further enrichment to create nuclear weapons.

The EU had offered to ensure fuel supply from abroad for Iranian nuclear energy programs; however Iran said it had to be able to produce fuel itself as outside supply was unreliable. Ahmadinejad told the United Nations in September Iran had an "inalienable" right to develop enrichment capability.

Tehran reacted angrily to the latest statements from Western leaders, saying it would not halt its research.

Ahmadinejad said Iran was not intimidated by the international "fuss" over its nuclear programs.

"I am telling all the powers that the Iranian nation and government, with firmness and wisdom, will continue its path in seeking and utilizing peaceful nuclear energy," he said in a speech in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas Wednesday.

Source: United Press International

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World Powers Threaten Defiant Iran Over Nuclear Crisis
Vienna (AFP) Jan 11, 2006
World powers threatened Iran with UN Security Council sanctions Wednesday after it resumed sensitive nuclear activities as a defiant Tehran vowed to press ahead with its disputed atomic programme.

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