Reuters: The UK government accused Iran on Thursday of failing to cooperate with a United Nations watchdog and said this increased its concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme.
LONDON (Reuters) – The government accused Iran on Thursday of failing to cooperate with a United Nations watchdog and said this increased its concerns over Tehran's nuclear programme.
Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell was responding to a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Wednesday which said Tehran planned to start installing another 3,000 centrifuges early next year.
That is in addition to 3,800 centrifuges already enriching uranium and another 2,200 gradually being introduced.
U.N. officials in Vienna said the inquiry by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into alleged atom bomb research by Iran had degenerated into a silent standoff.
"Iran continues to enrich and to increase its capacity to enrich in breach of five U.N. Security Council resolutions," Rammell said in a statement.
"Iran's continuing failure to cooperate with the IAEA or to answer its questions increases our concerns about Iran's nuclear programme and its intentions. It is vital that Iran urgently and comprehensively provides the IAEA with all the requested information, documentation and access," he said.
"We share the IAEA's continuing concerns about outstanding issues relating to possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programmes," he said.
Iran, the world's No. 4 oil exporter, says its programme is for generating more electricity.
Major powers believe the Iranian nuclear programme is a cover for making the atom bomb and have agreed successive rounds of sanctions in response to Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain have offered to hold off from seeking further sanctions if Tehran freezes expansion of its nuclear work.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Thursday that while Iran was being offered economic, cultural and scientific cooperation, "there will also be a sincere and serious sanctions programme if Iran refuses to abide by its obligations under the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty."
The IAEA produced a second report on Wednesday saying that a Syrian complex bombed by Israel bore multiple features resembling those of a nuclear reactor and said U.N. inspectors found "significant" traces of uranium at the site.
Rammell said Britain urged Syria to agree to a further IAEA visit and to provide requested access and information.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Richard Balmforth)