Iran Nuclear NewsEU, NATO to keep pressure on Iran despite report

EU, NATO to keep pressure on Iran despite report


Reuters: Germany and France said on Thursday Iran’s nuclear program was still a threat and the search for more U.N. sanctions should go on despite a U.S. intelligence report that Tehran was no longer trying to build an atomic bomb. By Francois Murphy

PARIS (Reuters) – Germany and France said on Thursday Iran’s nuclear program was still a threat and the search for more U.N. sanctions should go on despite a U.S. intelligence report that Tehran was no longer trying to build an atomic bomb.

EU and NATO foreign ministers, meeting for separate talks in Brussels, agreed there was no reason to change their position of threatening sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister Karel de Gucht said.

Speaking at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the existing dual track policy of preparing sanctions against Tehran while leaving the door open to negotiations should go on.

“I think that we are in a process and that Iran still poses a threat,” Merkel said, adding that talks between EU mediator Javier Solana and Iran’s top nuclear negotiator should continue.

Sarkozy said he fully agreed with Merkel, adding: “What has made Iran move until now is sanctions and firmness.”

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate published on Monday said Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program four years ago. It said Iran was continuing to develop the technical means that could be applied to producing weapons.

The report appears likely to increase resistance from Russia and China to U.S. demands for a third round of United Nations sanctions against Iran over its atomic program.

Russia has said the report is a factor that will be taken into account in negotiations over sanctions, and the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, said the NIE report “somewhat vindicated” Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in Brussels for meetings with NATO ministers, urged Russia to help maintain pressure on Iran.


Belgium’s De Gucht said there was consensus among EU and NATO foreign ministers to keep the two-pronged approach in place.

He said Iran’s work on uranium enrichment made no sense unless it was part of a plan to produce nuclear weapons. De Gucht said it did not mean Iran had decided to make nuclear arms, but once it had fissile material, it could be done in a reasonable amount of time.

Because of international concerns that Iran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, the U.N. Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions against Tehran and demanded that it halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants or, potentially, atom bombs.

Iran says it only wants to generate electricity and has a national right to uranium enrichment.

Washington has said it would keep pushing for a third round of sanctions.

U.S. deputy director of National Intelligence, Donald Kerr, told Congress on Thursday that Iran retained capabilities despite having frozen weapons development in 2003, and there was reason to believe Iran still wanted an ability to make nuclear weapons.

(Additional reporting by Elizabeth Pineau in Paris, David Brunnstrom and Sue Pleming in Brussels and Randall Mikkelsen in Washington; Editing by Caroline Drees)

Latest news

US Sanctions IRGC’s Foreign Terrorism, Intel Unit Chief

The US government has imposed sanctions targeting the Chief of the Intelligence Unit of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps...

Iran’s Fruit Production: Exports High, Consumption Low, Prices Soar

Iran's diverse climate, topography, and altitude give rise to a wide variety of fruits, ranging from tropical dates to...

Iran’s impoverished population has skyrocketed

Over the course of a decade, 11 million people (about twice the population of Arizona) have been added to...

Iran’s Medicine Shortage Continues as Production of Sports Supplements Increase

One of the dilemmas before ordinary Iranians is the shortage and skyrocketing price of medicines. All the while, the...

Iranian Regime Presidency Servers Taken Over By Dissidents, Exposing Regime Vulnerabilities

In a significant security breach, the official website of the Iranian regime’s presidency was taken over by Iranian dissidents...

Abolfazl Amir Ataei, 16, Dies After 8 Months In A Coma

Abolfazl Amir Ataei, a 16-year-old teenager in the Iranian capital of Tehran, died on Friday, May 26, after being...

Must read

Clinton not planning Iran meeting at conference

Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has no...

Iran’s Bad Match

By Pooya Stone Iran warned this week that it...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you