01222018Mon

Straw says EU upset with Iran on nukes

Reuters: European Union foreign ministers, including Jack Straw, have voiced disenchantment at Iran's failure to cooperate more fully with U.N. efforts to ensure its nuclear programme is not a front for developing atomic weapons.
"We have all been perplexed and saddened that the Iranian government has not completed all the tasks it said it would," Straw said on arrival for an EU meeting in the Netherlands. Reuters

VALKENBURG, Netherlands - European Union foreign ministers, including Jack Straw, have voiced disenchantment at Iran's failure to cooperate more fully with U.N. efforts to ensure its nuclear programme is not a front for developing atomic weapons.

"We have all been perplexed and saddened that the Iranian government has not completed all the tasks it said it would," Straw said on arrival for an EU meeting in the Netherlands.

He said he would meet his counterparts from France and Germany on Friday to review their faltering diplomatic initiative to coax Iran into stopping uranium enrichment and complying fully with its treaty obligations.

"The responsibility for engagement rests on both sides," Straw told reporters, responding to criticism from the United States that the EU's Big Three have nothing to show from their attempt to engage with Tehran.

He said the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, contained "clear reservations" about the nature of Iran's programme and past concealment efforts.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, told reporters it was no secret that the EU was deeply concerned about Tehran's nuclear programme.

The issue had cast a shadow over EU efforts to build closer relations with Iran through a trade and aid agreement, on which negotiations are stalled.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged the Europeans this week to stop offering "carrots" to Iran and join Washington in taking Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions over its alleged non-compliance with the IAEA.

Bot said the question EU ministers would have to consider was whether Iran had breached its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

However, EU diplomats in Brussels said most member states felt there was not enough evidence now to take Iran to the Security Council and did not wish to be locked into any automatic trigger for sanctions.

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