October 7, 2008

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned Tuesday of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if Iran was allowed to press ahead unchecked with a uranium enrichment programme.

Speaking a day after Iran’s nuclear negotiator protested over the West’s attitude to Tehran’s atomic programme, he said Britain was “very concerned” about Iran’s refusal to be frank with the International Atomic Energy Authority Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

“We are making a serious offer to Iran for economic, cultural, and scientific co-operation which I think is the way forward,” he said in an exchange with lawmakers in the House of Commons.

“But it’s not a way forward while they continue to defy not just the UN Security Council but also the (IAEA) which has continuing serious concerns about their programme and the refusal of the Iranian government to come clean about it.”

He added: “We must be insistent that a uranium enrichment programme, in defiance not just of the UN Security Council but also of Iran’s obligations under the non-proliferation treaty, is a serious danger not just to stability in the Middle East but in the world.

“The Middle East has enough problems without a nuclear arms race,” he added.

On Monday Iran’s nuclear negotiator Said Jalili sent a protest to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana over the West’s attitude to his country’s atomic programme.


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