Reuters: Iran should be more sincere with the rest of the world about its disputed nuclear programme and accept Russia’s proposal to enrich uranium for it, the German and South Korean foreign ministers said on Sunday.
By Martin Nesirky
SEOUL (Reuters) – Iran should be more sincere with the rest of the world about its disputed nuclear programme and accept Russia’s proposal to enrich uranium for it, the German and South Korean foreign ministers said on Sunday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon held more than an hour of talks at his official residence with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was starting an Asian tour that will also take him to Japan and China.
Steinmeier praised Seoul for backing Germany, Britain and France in their efforts to persuade Tehran not to resume atomic fuel activities to build confidence that its renunciation of nuclear military ambitions is genuine.
“We agreed that with regard to the Iranian nuclear question it is most important to solve it in a peaceful way through diplomatic efforts and that the Iranian side should take a more sincere stance,” Ban said at a joint news conference.
Asked whether Iran’s plan to hold talks in Moscow on Monday about Russia’s proposal was a ploy to buy time, Steinmeier said Iran often tended to make tactical manoeuvres.
He said that was why Iran should accept Russia’s proposal was a way to solve the problem. Russia has offered to enrich uranium on Iran’s behalf — a move that would help alleviate outside fears that Tehran was trying to divert atomic fuel for bomb-making. Iran denies wanting to build atomic bombs.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said on Friday delaying action against Iran’s suspected nuclear capabilities allowed Tehran to increase its uranium enrichment knowledge and step up threats to withhold oil.
European officials plan to make a fresh appeal to Iran in Belgium on Monday to halt sensitive nuclear activities by warning its foreign minister on a rare visit to Brussels that the West is fast running out of patience.
In a compromise reached on Feb. 4, countries on the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency called for the Iranian controversy to be reported to the U.N. Security Council by March 6.
Ban said South Korea’s own problem with North Korea’s declared nuclear ambitions meant Seoul took the Iranian nuclear crisis very seriously.
Six-country talks on trying to halt North Korea’s nuclear programmes have stalled. South Korea’s ambassador to the United States told a radio programme he hoped talks could restart in March or April, but did not elaborate.