AFP: The German government said Wednesday it was “deeply concerned” by Iran’s claim to have enriched uranium on its own, calling it a step in the wrong direction.
BERLIN, April 12, 2006 (AFP) – The German government said Wednesday it was “deeply concerned” by Iran’s claim to have enriched uranium on its own, calling it a step in the wrong direction.
Deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters that the Islamic republic must suspend all uranium enrichment work, as stipulated in a UN Security Council resolution last month.
“We are deeply concerned about these reports about the supposedly successful start of enrichment activities,” Steg said.
“We can only say that this is a further step in the wrong direction. Iran is apparently not prepared to abandon the road to isolation,” he added, echoing criticism from the United States and Russia.
In an elaborate ceremony Tuesday, the Islamic regime declared its scientists had managed to enrich uranium to make reactor fuel, in direct contravention of the UN Security Council demand for such work to stop.
This process, which can be extended to make weapons-grade uranium, is the focus of fears that Iran could acquire weapons of mass destruction. Tehran has consistently denied the charge.
Germany has been working with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — to convince Tehran to freeze its enrichment program.
Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Wednesday the negotiations had reached a “difficult phase”.
He said the partners were waiting for a “reliable signal” that Tehran was willing to meet the UN Security Council deadline to freeze its enrichment activities, which runs out this month.
Jaeger added that Germany still believed that a Russian proposal to enrich uranium for Iran on Russian soil could be “an important element of a possible solution”.