"The focus of the recent agreement is Iran's nuclear programme. The agreement does not refer to all elements of our dialogue with Iran, nor all of our concerns about Iranian policy," Symons said in a brief debate in the House of Lords published Friday.
But the British minister for the Middle East insisted that the exclusion from the EU agreement, which was endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday, was "by no means setting aside" concerns about human rights in Iran.
"We have made it clear that our relations with Iran can develop only if Iran takes action to address general political concerns, which must include concerns over human rights," she insisted.
Asked to clarify whether Iran's agreement to suspend the enrichment of uranium was temporary, Symons said that the IAEA "mentions sustaining the suspension," while negotiations are under way on a long-term agreement.
Former British Ambassador to the UN, Lord Hannay suggested that the UK government should support a general moratorium on all enrichment and reprocessing worldwide of the kind recommended by a UN panel.
"A system should be put in place to enable countries with civil nuclear regimes that are properly covered by safeguards to get their supplies at a reasonable market rate and without any possible interruption," he said, adding that this could be a better way forward.
Symons agreed the UK must seriously address questions relating to non-proliferation, but said there were also countries of concern that are not covered by specific agreements.
"Our first concern is to draw others into the non-proliferation treaty," she said without directly naming such countries as Israel, Pakistan and India, which have nuclear arms.
The minister also related "it was part of our concern with Iran that we should not force a situation in which Iran would decide to withdraw altogether from the non-proliferation treaty."
... Payvand News - 12/3/04 ... --