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UK "regrets" US disengagement with Iran

The UK government has expressed regret at the isolationist policy of the US towards Iran and says that it is trying to persuade Washington to adopt a dialogue with Tehran, IRNA reported from London.

"We will try to persuade the United States to encourage rather than disengage in the way that, regrettably, has perhaps been the case," Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Baroness Symons said Wednesday.

The minister told the House of Lords that there was `no secret about the fact that we have a different analysis of the way in which to encourage Iran to be part of the international community from that held by our friends in the United States`.

"Where we disagree with the United States we try to persuade them that the role that we are adopting of engagement with Iran -- critical engagement, certainly, but still engagement -- is a better way of encouraging it to comply with international norms," she said.

Symons was responding to a debate about the UK`s response to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran`s nuclear program, initiated by the main British apologist for the Mujahideen-e Khalq terrorist group, Labor peer, Lord Corbett.

During the debate, former UK ambassador to the UN, Lord Hannay contrasted the concern about North Korea`s `extremely disagreeable regime` with the `more sophisticated government` of Iran and suggested the US should `address some of their security concerns`.

He asked the minister is she had `any idea what the United States might be prepared to do in its relationship with Iran if Iran were to sign the addition protocol` to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In response, Symons said it was always very difficult to draw direct comparisons but that `nobody knows better` than Lord Hannay, who started his diplomatic career with the Foreign Office as a language student in Tehran and went to be ambassador to the EU. "If the Government of Iran have particular points that they wish to raise that are matters of genuine concern about their security, it is only right and proper to listen to those concerns," she added. Earlier when asked, the minister suggested that there was a `possibility` that if Iran did not cooperate with the IAEA that there was a `possibility` that the matter may be referred to the UN Security Council.

But she said that she and others `hope that Iran will do the right and sensible thing and engage properly with these requests`.

... Payvand News - 9/11/03 ... --

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