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Annan Urges Dialogue Over Nuclear Issue

Annan Urges Dialogue Over Nuclear Issue

Secretary-General Urges Dialogue Over Nuclear Issue With Iran, Calls For Restraint

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called for restraint from all sides in the dispute over Iran’s planned resumption of uranium enrichment activities, emphasizing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had not yet completed its report to the Security Council and urging negotiations to continue.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Mr. Annan said the report would be ready by the end of the month but emphasized that there was still time for the IAEA and Iran to explore diplomatic channels to resolve the issue.

“What is important is that both sides have said negotiations are not dead, negotiations are not over, and they are prepared to talk, and I would urge them to continue,” the Secretary-General said.

“In the meantime it would be important that no steps are taken that would escalate the already tense situation. And I hope Iran will continue to freeze its activities, the way they are now, to allow talks to go forward,” he added.

The Secretary-General said such a decision by Iran would also “allow negotiations with the European Three and the Russians to come back to the table.”

Earlier this month the Board of Governors of the IAEA passed a resolution in Vienna requesting the Agency's Director General to report to the Security Council on Iran, marking the first time the 15-member body will become directly involved in the issue.

The Board requested Iran to “extend full and prompt cooperation to the Agency, which the Director General deems indispensable and overdue, and in particular to help the Agency clarify possible activities which could have a military nuclear dimension.”

That action followed three days of debate sparked when France, Germany and the United Kingdom – the so-called “EU-3” – requested a special meeting of the Board after Tehran broke IAEA seals on equipment used to produce enriched uranium.

Last September, the Board of Governors found that Iran's breaches of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty were within the competence of the Security Council, which can impose sanctions, but did not refer the matter then.

ENDS

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