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Greens urge caution on Iran issue

3 February 2006

Greens urge caution on Iran issue

New Zealand should be cautious about referring Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council, and avoid falling into line with the United States on the issue, according to Green Party Disarmament Spokesperson Keith Locke.

"We should be supporting the moderate stance of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed El Baradei, who favours patience and dialogue, rather than punitive action," Mr Locke says.

"Referring Iran's nuclear programme to the Security Council will achieve nothing. In fact, it is likely to be counterproductive.

"The most likely outcome of Security Council involvement is that Iran will exercise its legal right to cancel IAEA spot inspections. These inspections are currently the best tool available to restrain Iran from advancing a nuclear weapons programme. Surely it is better to have regular inspections, and leave dialogue channels open, than to alienate Iran further from the international community.

"Punitive actions will not work. Sanctions are pointless when many key countries like China rely on Iranian oil. Tensions with Middle Eastern nations, already riled by the West's silence on Israel's nuclear weapons programme, will also be inflamed by such a move," Mr Locke says.

"New Zealand can and should be a voice of reason on this issue, championing the IAEA role in restraining Iran's nuclear programme.


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