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Solana 'worried' by Iran's lack of cooperation on nuclear issue

Britain urges Arab leaders to pressure Iran
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will Monday urge Arab leaders to clearly state their opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran and to engage more fully with the Middle East peace process. During a visit to Abu Dhabi, he will say the prospect of Iran having nuclear weapons poses "the most immediate threat" to Middle East stability, and appeal to Tehran's neighbours to put pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"A nuclear-armed Iran would be a decisive blow against those seeking to promote pragmatic and peaceful solutions to the region's problems," Miliband will say, according to a pre-released copy of his speech. "The consequent nuclear arms race would be very dangerous. The acquisition of a nuclear weapon would strengthen Tehran's regional position, injecting its attempts to stoke up division and promote instability with much greater confidence." Iran says its nuclear programme is intended only for civilian energy purposes only, but it has refused to comply with UN Security Council demands that it cease uranium enrichment activities. European Union and United Nations sanctions on Iran are not intended to bring about regime change in Tehran, nor are they a prelude to military action, Miliband is to say, according to the advance text. There is "much that the Arab countries could do to counter Tehran's claims that their quest for greater influence and their nuclear programme enjoys tacit support throughout the region," he is to say. His speech suggests offering economic incentives to Iran to cooperate, as well as "clamping down on smuggling or tightening up export controls on goods which could support the development of nuclear weapons".

Miliband will also say Arab nations must become more engaged in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying: "For too long, the countries of the region have been kept at one if not several removes from the peace process". A lack of progress is threatening this process, and if nothing changes, "I believe the prospect of peace could disappear forever." "Why? Because the situation on the ground, that leaves too many people insecure, in poverty and despair, is rapidly undermining the political process," Miliband is to say, according to the advance text. "And because while both sides are tiring of the conflict, they are also tiring, faster, of efforts to resolve it."

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 21, 2008
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Friday he was "worried" by an international watchdog's report that Iran is not cooperating with calls to stop its sensitive nuclear work.

"I am worried (by) the report of the Agency in Vienna," Solana told reporters after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued its report on Wednesday.

Solana, tasked with the United States and five other world powers with presenting proposals to the Iranians to stop uranium enrichment, recalled that it is the second IAEA report to say "they are not cooperating.

"And some of the figures he offers about the quantities, the number of centrifuges, are troublesome," Solana added.

A top diplomat close to the IAEA said Iran was using some 3,800 centrifuges on November 7 and was ready to get 2,200 more working.

The IAEA in a restricted report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, said that "contrary to the decisions of the (UN) Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment-related activities."

And "as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues of serious concern, the agency has not been able to make substantive progress," it added.

The United States has joined powers China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in pushing for sanctions against Iran. The Security Council has imposed three sets of sanctions on Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

Solana said he hoped that the Obama administration will be "more engaged" in negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program and that it take part "fully" in the negotiations with the five other powers and Iran.

For the first time during George W. Bush's administration, third-ranking diplomat William Burns joined Iran's chief negotiator Said Jalili and their counterparts from the five other powers at talks in Geneva in July.

Having long insisted that Iran suspend enrichment before meeting its nuclear envoys, officials from the Bush's administration effectively dropped their pre-conditions, analysts said at the time.

Solana, who last met Jalili in August, hoped new contacts with Iran would take place soon.

"There may be another contact in November. Not at my level. It will be below my level. My deputy and their deputy. It is not confirmed yet. It would not be a big event with publicity, it would be a discrete meeting," he said.

The top EU diplomat said he did not expect new UN Security Council sanctions against Iran before the Obama administration assumes its duties on January 20.

"From here to the new administration, I don't think there will be fundamental change on new sanctions. It does not mean that we do not continue applying sanctions," Solana said.

The major powers are trying to get Iran to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for an offer of broad cooperation that was presented twice, once in June 2006 and then again in June this year.

Washington and its western allies charge that Tehran's nuclear program is a covert one aimed at building a bomb. Iran denies the charges, saying it is for generating electricity.

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Israel says IAEA report proves Tehran wants nukes
Jerusalem (AFP) Nov 20, 2008
A report by the UN atomic watchdog stating little progress in its investigation into Iran's nuclear efforts proves Tehran is concealing ambitions to acquire an atomic bomb, Israel said on Thursday.

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