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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband insists Iran nuclear program is a threat

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband minimized the impact of the US National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iranian nuclear development, and insisted that Iran's program is nonetheless dangerous and must be stopped. In an intervew with BBC's World at One Miliband noted that Iran is enriching uranium but doesn't have a reactor that will be using it. Following are excerpts of the interview.  
"It's obviously vital that Iran makes the right choice and does join an anti-proliferation drive rather than being a proliferator."

"I'm not going to get into a point-by-point dispute over a report that was publishd yesterday. What's important is that all 6 countries, including the United States, China, Russia etc, are working very closely together with a very clear aim - Iran should be a proud and respected member of the international community, abiding by the rules which apply to us all, especially in respect of nuclear proliferation."

"What I've said face-to-face is that we are happy to work with them on a civilian nuclear power programme - enrichment is part of that. The problem with Iran is that while it is enriching, according to us and according to them, they have no nuclear power plants to put this enriched uranium into.
"That's why people have fears about what the enrichment is for, that's why they have fears about the dangers of weaponisation. None of us want to see Iran as a nuclear proliferator. We're happy to work with them to show that there are benefits for them from choosing an anti-proliferation course. But we've got to be clear that there will be negative consequences if they pursue enrichment which could lead to a nuclear weapons programme."

In response questions regarding reliability of intelligence reports in the light of past failures, he noted that, "Well, I mean it's ironic you asking me whether I think there might be any reliability issues in respect of the dossier that's been published, or what some people might call a dossier. I think the best thing to say is that the American government has been very open about this, they've put the whole thing into the public domain. We want to work very closely with them, bilaterally but also as part of the international community."

He stated, "I think at this stage people should recognise there's an ongoing dialogue with a very clear aim - none of us want Iran to set off a nuclear weapons arms race in the Middle East. That has to be the absolute goal of policy. All of the aspects that lead up to that are about trying to give Iran benefits for engaging with the international community, with the consequential sanctions if they refuse to."

He emphasized, "This is an absolutely key point. I've said face to face to the Iranian foreign minister, fine for you to have an enrichment programme if you can show me the civilian nuclear power plants that this enriched uranium is going to go towards. Unfortunately, there isn't a single nuclear power plant, or even the planning permission for a single nuclear power plant, that this enriched uranium could go towards. And that's the problem - because of the history of this area, where Iran has misled the international community, people are rightly sceptical of claims that don't add up on the Iranian side. It's not a matter of saying that Iran shouldn't have energy security. What it can't be is a source of political insecurity."

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