Straw says no military answer to Iranian stand-off
* Calls Ahmadinejad’s address disappointing and unhelpful
* Iran warns of a ‘radicalised’ position if referred to UNSC
LONDON: The international community will not go down a military path to solve the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear programmeme, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw insisted on Sunday, despite unease at Tehran’s latest proposals.
In interviews to the BBC, Straw described as ‘disappointing and unhelpful’ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s much-anticipated address to the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday. “This (stand-off) will not be resolved by military means, let’s be clear about that,” Straw told BBC radio.
“It needs to be resolved by all facilities available to the international community, that is what we have been working on and continue to work on,” Straw added.
The foreign secretary was reacting to Iran’s latest proposals to end an impasse over its nuclear programmeme, which the United States suspects is a cover for weapons development, and thwart a move towards possible UN sanctions. Ahmadinejad outlined on Saturday four proposals to the UN, including an offer to ‘engage in serious partnership with private and public sectors of other countries in the implementation of the uranium-enrichment programme in Iran’.
But Straw said Tehran’s offer ‘fails properly to add up’. Straw told BBC television there had yet to be a ‘satisfactory answer’ explaining why Iran needed to develop nuclear fuel technology when there was no power station for its civilian use. Straw said he would continue to pursue diplomatic means to resolve the row over Iran’s nuclear ambitions but was dismissive of Ahmadinejad’s offer to cooperate with the IAEA. “Offering to be transparent now is simply saying you are going to be compliant and really accepting you have not been compliant (with IAEA demands) in the past,” said Straw.
Iran says its nuclear programmeme is legal and restricted to civilian energy aims, a position backed by Russia, China and other countries. Iran warned on Sunday of a ‘radicalisation’ of its position if the UN’s nuclear watchdog, due to open a key meeting on Monday, refers the issue to the Security Council. “We do not want the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to act rashly, unilaterally and in an extreme way,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran.
“If they act politically instead of dealing with the issue in a technical way, there will be a radicalisation of the atmosphere,” he added, telling the agency to “look into the case with logic and realism so it does not get complicated”.
“This is about the whole of the international community, there is a board at the IAEA where it has been decided on 17 successive occasions unanimously that Iran must bring itself into full compliance with its own obligations for complete transparency under the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Straw told BBC television. agencies