Iran Nuclear NewsGermany Urges Iran to Give Guarantees Over Nuclear Program

Germany Urges Iran to Give Guarantees Over Nuclear Program

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Bloomberg: German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer urged Iran to give guarantees that its nuclear program will be used for peaceful means, to allay concerns it may be developing nuclear weapons. The European Union, with Germany, the U.K. and France leading the negotiations, has been holding talks with Iran to persuade it to scrap its nuclear research program, while U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to rule out … Bloomberg

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer urged Iran to give guarantees that its nuclear program will be used for peaceful means, to allay concerns it may be developing nuclear weapons.

The European Union, with Germany, the U.K. and France leading the negotiations, has been holding talks with Iran to persuade it to scrap its nuclear research program, while U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to rule out the use of force against the nation, which in 2002 he said formed an “axis of evil” together with Iraq and North Korea.

“We have every interest in finding a solution but it has to be on the basis of objective guarantees,” Fischer told reporters at a joint press conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi after talks today in Berlin. “Herein lies the difficulty and our great worries.”

U.S. officials accuse Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Iran, which has repeatedly said its nuclear assets are aimed at power generation, agreed in December 2003 to increased verification of its program by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

High-level talks between the Iran and the EU, which will continue in Paris in March, are very important for Iran to reach a solution and come up with objective guarantees, Kharrazi said.

“I believe there are possibilities to explore how to remove the concerns of the European side on any diversion” of nuclear material in the future, Kharrazi said. In the course of negotiations “both sides have to cooperate to arrive at concrete measures but this shouldn’t be interpreted as a cessation of activities.”

In an interview with today’s Wall Street Journal, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder offered Iran economic cooperation and security if it drops its nuclear program.

“What we need to do is to signal to the other side that if Iran fulfills the demands of the international community, this will have a positive effect on the return of the country into the community of nations — political as well as economic,” Schroeder told the newspaper.

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