AFP: British Prime Minister Tony Blair lamented Tuesday the lack of a reasonable dialogue with Iran, reiterating London’s readiness for a “different relationship” despite Tehran’s hardline stance. LONDON, April 17, 2007 (AFP) – British Prime Minister Tony Blair lamented Tuesday the lack of a reasonable dialogue with Iran, reiterating London’s readiness for a “different relationship” despite Tehran’s hardline stance.
His comments came as Iran said it was working “continuously” to expand its nuclear programme at an ultra-sensitive facility, in defiance of United Nations calls on Tehran to stop its controversial atomic activities.
“We have wanted Iran to be in compliance with its international obligations,” Blair said in London at his monthly press conference.
“But we’ve said at the time, if Iran wants a different relationship, we stand ready to have one.”
“What we want in the end is to make sure that the whole of that region is more stable and more peaceful … but we need to have some echo back from the Iranian government.”
He paid tribute to the Iranian people, who he described as young, dynamic and entrepreneurial, with a strong interest in travel and new technology.
“It’s a great shame if we can’t have a better and more reasonable dialogue with the government. We stand ready to have that dialogue if they want it,” he added.
In Tehran on Tuesday, the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said that Tehran was employing “maximum effort” to install centrifuges at a plant in Natanz, central Iran.
Iran has said it ultimately wants to install 50,000 uranium enriching centrifuges at the plant although its medium-term goal was to put in place 3,000 units.
The UN Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, and the Islamic republic faces further punitive measures if it does not comply.
The United States has refused to rule out the option of military action against Iran should sanctions fail to work. Iran insists that its nuclear programme is peaceful.