AFP: European Union foreign ministers will review the bloc’s policy on Iran next week, ahead of a meeting of the UN’s
atomic energy agency at the end of the month, officials said on Friday. BRUSSELS, Nov 4 (AFP) – European Union foreign ministers will review the bloc’s policy on Iran next week, ahead of a meeting of the UN’s atomic energy agency at the end of the month, officials said on Friday.
The ministers, meeting in Brussels on Monday, will discuss the Islamic Republic’s refusal to renew a suspension of suspect nuclear activities as well as recent comments about Israel by Iran’s president.
“The ministers want to have a discussion to review our policy on Iran,” said an EU diplomat on condition of anonymity, noting that Tehran had recently taken a political turn for the worse.
“Not only have we seen no progress, we have seen a regression,” the diplomat said.
The United States believes Iran is secretly trying to develop a nuclear weapon under the cover of its civilian atomic power programme, and several countries have urged Tehren to stop potentially dual use nuclear activities.
Britain, France and Germany have led efforts to force Iran to abandon the sensitive nuclear fuel activities, which Tehran insists are strictly peaceful, and the ministers are likely to urge it to resume its freeze on that work.
Iran could be referred to the UN Security Council over its programme, after the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors found it to be in “non-compliance” with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The IAEA will discuss Iran on November 24 at its Vienna headquarters.
“The EU wants to see a diplomatic solution,” said another EU official.
“But for that to be possible … we need Iran to comply with the IAEA board of governors’ resolution of the 24th of September and it needs to return to full suspension of all fuel cycle activities, which means uranium enrichment.”
Compounding the problem was a call late last month by Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. The call had not been made in public by a senior figure in Tehran for years.
“What is most needed at present is the rebuilding of confidence between Iran and the international community and this rather goes in the opposite direction,” the EU official said.
The ministers are also likely to discuss building EU contacts with civil society in Iran, including with local non-governmental organisations, given the continued human rights abuses there.
“It means increasing, continuing and reinforcing our contacts with different sectors of Iranian society in Iran,” the official said.