Iran Nuclear NewsBritain, France condemn Iran nuclear decision

Britain, France condemn Iran nuclear decision

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Reuters: Britain said on Monday it was deeply concerned by Iran’s decision to restart its nuclear programme and France described the tone of Tehran’s rejection of EU proposals as particularly alarming. The two EU allies were responding to Iran’s decisions to resume work at a uranium conversion plant near the central city of Isfahan and to reject a package of European Union proposals aimed at solving a stand-off over Iran’s nuclear plans. Reuters

LONDON – Britain said on Monday it was deeply concerned by Iran’s decision to restart its nuclear programme and France described the tone of Tehran’s rejection of EU proposals as particularly alarming.

The two EU allies were responding to Iran’s decisions to resume work at a uranium conversion plant near the central city of Isfahan and to reject a package of European Union proposals aimed at solving a stand-off over Iran’s nuclear plans.

EU officials have warned Iran’s decisions could lead to its nuclear case being sent to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

Tehran’s move is likely to land it in serious trouble at an emergency meeting of the U.N. atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna on Tuesday.

“We regret Iran’s decision to reject the E3’s proposals and are deeply concerned about reports that Iran has also decided to restart the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan,” British Foreign Office Minister Ian Pearson said.

“We will discuss next steps in the IAEA board of governors tomorrow.”

Britain, France and Germany have formed a group of three (E3) to try to solve the dispute with Iran.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Iran’s resumption of nuclear work clearly violated an accord made in Paris last year, adding that Tehran’s tone was worrying.

“Today Iran took two serious and worrying unilateral decisions,” he told France Info radio.

“We just received a negative response to the proposals we made. Iran’s tone is particularly alarming and contrary to the spirit of dialogue we have had … over the last two years.”

“Iran has never been able to explain the necessity of proceeding with the conversion and the enrichment of uranium,” he added. “It’s a new situation that only makes us increase our doubts over the aims of the Iranian programme.”

Iran denies U.S. accusations that its nuclear programme is a front for bomb-making. It says it needs nuclear power as an alternative energy source to meet booming electricity demand and preserve its oil and gas reserves for export.

Iran had suspended nuclear fuel work as a confidence-building measure while it explored a long-term arrangement for its nuclear programme with the EU.

(Additional reporting by Anna Willard in Paris)

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