AFP: French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday European governments would “build an international consensus” over Iran’s nuclear programme and would take the matter to the United Nations Security Council if necessary. AFP
PARIS – French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Monday European governments would “build an international consensus” over Iran’s nuclear programme and would take the matter to the United Nations Security Council if necessary.
The minister made his comments as the 35-nation board of the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), opened a week-long meeting in Vienna focusing on Iran’s nuclear programme.
“We are going to work this week with our European partners to build an international consensus to put the Iranians on guard,” he told RTL radio from New York, where he is participating in the UN General Assembly.
“We will do this in Vienna where the (IAEA) council of governors is meeting. If it’s necessary to go to the United Nations Security Council to do it, we will do that.”
The United States and the European Union want the IAEA to bring Iran before the Security Council to try to get Tehran to stop making nuclear reactor fuel that can also be used to make nuclear bombs. Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.
Permanent Security Council members Russia and China support Iran’s claim to peaceful nuclear technology under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and are unlikely to back any Western moves toward UN sanctions.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters at the start of the meeting in Vienna that the onus was now on Tehran to finally allow access to sensitive sites and key people involved in the programme, saying the “ball is very much in Iran’s court”.
“We need a number of additional transparency measures,” he said.
Douste-Blazy said the international community must “react together” but stressed that European governments were not trying to block Tehran from pursuing peaceful nuclear energy.
“It is not necessary to stop Iran developing nuclear energy, but we must be sure that this nuclear energy will be used for peaceful purposes,” he said.
On the eve of this week’s talks in Vienna, Douste-Blazy said Paris was unconvinced by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments to the UN General Assembly that Tehran was ready to take steps to end the standoff.
“I am very concerned by the fact that he (Ahmadinejad) reaffirmed his desire to develop (fuel) cycle technology without taking into account the worries of the international community,” the foreign minister said.
In an address to the General Assembly on Sunday, Douste-Blazy said: “The integrity of the non-proliferation regime is at stake”.
Britain, France and Germany have led the European Union’s efforts to convince Iran to renounce a nuclear weapons capability in return for economic and security incentives.