DPA: The British government believes that the potential threat from Iran remains a ‘very serious issue’ despite a US intelligence report saying that Tehran halted its atomic weapons programme in 2003. Deutsche Presse-Agentur
London (dpa) – The British government believes that the potential threat from Iran remains a ‘very serious issue’ despite a US intelligence report saying that Tehran halted its atomic weapons programme in 2003.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said suspicions about Iran’s intentions were inevitable, given that Tehran was enriching uranium while there were no civilian nuclear power plants in the country capable of using it.
Asked whether the new US report made military action against Iran less likely, Miliband said Britain remained ‘100 per cent focused, with the rest of the international community, on a diplomatic resolution to this issue.’
‘They (Iran) have no nuclear power plants to put this enriched uranium into. That’s why people have fears about what the enrichment is for. That’s why they have fears about the dangers of weaponization,’ Miliband said in a BBC interview.
‘None of us want to see Iran as a nuclear proliferator. We are happy to work with them to show there are benefits for them from pursuing an anti-proliferation course, but we have got to be clear there are negative consequences if they pursue enrichment which could lead to a nuclear weapons programme.’
Speaking after a cabinet meeting earlier, a spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Britain believed there was still a risk of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
‘We do need to examine the details of this report,’ Brown’s spokesman said.
‘But in overall terms the government believes that the report confirms we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons.’
It indicated that the sanctions programme and international pressure had had some effect, the spokesman added.
‘It also shows the intent is there and the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains a very serious issue.’
The British government was in close contact with the US administration over the issue and would continue to discuss the matter with its key international allies.
‘The real issue over recent months has been the issue surrounding the civilian uranium enrichment programme and the potential that holds to use the same technology to produce weapons-grade uranium,’ the spokesman said.