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Blair welcomes cooperation in relieving Iranian nuclear concerns

Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday welcomed the cooperation from the UK's European Union partners in relieving concerns over Iran's nuclear program but denied that it was an example of collective diplomacy standing up to US unilateralism, IRNA reported from London.

"I think it is good France, Germany and Britain cooperated in achieving a result in respect of the inspection of the Iranian program," Blair said in response to a question from IRNA.

He said that it was very important to keep up the pressure because it is a 'potentially dangerous situation' and was sure that Iran realizes that it fulfills its obligations completely.

The prime minister was responding to a question on whether he agreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency's chief Mohammed ElBaradei that resolving Iran's nuclear concerns was a 'win-win situation that could open up a new chapter in EU-Iran relations'. But he rejected suggestions that the deal based on an agreement reached with the British, French and German foreign ministers during an unprecedented visit to Tehran last month was a prime example of multilateral diplomacy standing up against US unilateralism.

Blair's comments, expressed during his monthly press conference in London, are his first since the IAEA adopted a resolution by consensus last week that rejected recommending sanctions against Iran in the face of US pressure.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the resolution was the 'result of the intensive diplomatic consultations that followed our visit' to Tehran.

"We and our partners look forward to continued cooperation with Iran. Already our approach, based on international unity and constructive but critical engagement, has brought us further forward than many had imagined possible," he told parliament last Thursday.

The prime minister's press conference was dominated by questions on his plans for domestic reforms, especially over controversial proposed legislation to introduce university fees for undergraduates. He insisted that there would be 'no retreat' over bringing in student top-up fees despite opposition from more than 140 backbench Labor MPs.

... Payvand News - 12/2/03 ... --

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