Iran Nuclear NewsEU's Solana urges Iran, North Korea to give up...

EU’s Solana urges Iran, North Korea to give up nuclear ambitions

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AFP: EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana Tuesday urged North Korea and Iran to return to the negotiating table over their respective drives for nuclear programmes that are seen as a threat to world security. AFP

SHANGHAI – EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana Tuesday urged North Korea and Iran to return to the negotiating table over their respective drives for nuclear programmes that are seen as a threat to world security.

“The EU remains willing to resume the negotiations we had with Tehran for a new political and economic relationship,” Solana said in Shanghai after finishing the EU-China summit in Beijing.

“But it is up to Iran to come back first into compliance,” Solana said in remarks delivered at the China Europe International Business School.

Iran is at loggerheads with the international community after resuming uranium ore conversion, the precursor to the ultra-sensitive process of uranium enrichment that could then be diverted into atomic bombs.

Although Iran says the programme is for peaceful purposes, Britain, France and Germany (EU-3), have been desperately trying to convince Tehran to totally abandon nuclear fuel cycle work in exchange for a package of incentives.

“For us, the fundamental issue is making sure that Iran in not using its nuclear programme to develop nuclear weapons,” Solana said.

At the end of July, the EU-3 formally asked Iran to abort uranium enrichment-related work in exchange for support in trade, access to nuclear fuel produced overseas and help with Tehran’s regional security concerns.

Iran refused and resumed conversion work at a facility at Isfahan on August 8.

The EU was mulling its next step but bringing the Iran issue before the UN Security Council was an option, Solana has said previously.

“To date, Iran has refused to give such objective guarantees and it is not complying fully with the demands of the IAEA board of governors,” Solana said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN watchdog.

The EU minister said he had discussed Iran with his Chinese hosts in Beijing Monday.

The two sides also talked about the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

“I know China has similar frustrations there,” Solana said, alluding to six-party talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear drive.

Beijing has so far hosted four rounds of the negotiations that also involve the United States, Russia, Japan and South Korea. None has achieved significant results. The fourth round is scheduled to resume after a recess next week.

“We need to continue to encourage Iran and North Korea to go down the same path,” said Solana.

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