Iran Nuclear NewsFrance says concern mounting on Iran nuclear work

France says concern mounting on Iran nuclear work

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ImageReuters: France said on Friday the latest U.N. report on Iran's nuclear programme reinforced concerns that it was trying to develop weaponry, and urged it to halt sensitive nuclear work.

ImagePARIS (Reuters) – France said on Friday the latest U.N. report on Iran's nuclear programme reinforced concerns that it was trying to develop weaponry, and urged it to halt sensitive nuclear work.

In a report issued on Wednesday, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran had failed to cooperate with its inspectors investigating possible military aspects of Iran's atomic activities.

France and other Western powers say Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic programme. Iran says it only wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity.

"The elements described by the IAEA on the militarisation of Iran's programme raise the most serious doubts over the Iranian nuclear programme," Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said in a statement.

"Iran's behaviour further reinforces these concerns."

The IAEA said Iran planned to start installing another 3,000 centrifuges early next year, in addition to 3,800 already enriching uranium and another 2,200 being gradually introduced.

The U.N. Security Council has agreed successive rounds of sanctions in response to Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power plants or, potentially, for nuclear weapons.

"We call on Iran to comply with the Security Council resolutions, which is the only way to reach a negotiated solution," Chevallier said.

The United States, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain have offered Iran a package of incentives to persuade it to abandon enrichment and other sensitive technology, but Iran has consistently rejected the advances.

"Our concerns are also reinforced by the recent developments of Iran's ballistic missile programme," Chevallier added.

Iran said last week it had test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile with a range of close to 2,000 km — almost as far as another Iranian missile, the Shahab 3 — which would enable it to hit Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

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