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Powell: US working with EU on Iran's nuclear programme

Brussels, Dec 8, IRNA -- The outgoing American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, Wednesday said the US and the European Union were working together to get a complete transparency on Iran's unclear programme .

"The work we have been doing with the European Union on the Iranian nuclear programme, I think, is also a lot to do with how we work with Europe,'' Powell said in Brussels where he is to take part in the NATO foreign ministers' meeting on Thursday.

Speaking at the Brussels office of the 'German Marshall Foundation of the US, Wednesday, Powell said, ''in the case of Iran we did the shouting for a long time. There is something going on. They are moving towards nuclear weapon while others have said, no you may be overreacting.''

"The IAEA finally found that the Iranians were doing things that the IAEA didn't know about, should have known about. They were hiding programmes from the world that the world should have known about,'' he said.

He said the Russians who were building the reactor plant at Busher made it clear to the Iranians that they will not complete it until they have the guarantees that the fuel will come back.

"That was a responsible decision on the part of the Russians.''

In his 30 minute speech mostly devoted to transatlantic ties and US policy in the Middle East, Powell made no reference to Iran.

His comments on Iran followed a question-answer session by European students.

"Then the EU said let us see if Iran can suspend or terminate this programme. My German, French and UK colleagues went at it and over the period of a year they have now come up with an agreement that suspends all enrichment and conversion activities.''

Powell continued that ''suspension is not termination. We are still pressing for full accounting and the kind of transparency and the kind of oversight of what Iran is doing that will give the entire international community comfort.''

''So we are working with the Europeans. Sometimes we are the nags. Sometimes we are shouting perhaps more loudly than the Europeans would like us to shout. But once we saw the problem, maybe it was not a bad way to go about.''

He said the US and UK worked together on Libya's nuclear programme. ''We got a breakthrough and we involved the IAEA.''

The US secretary of state did not threaten to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council for its nuclear programme.

Last week the IAEA verified that Iran has suspended voluntarily enrichment activities and decided not to refer the Islamic Republic to the UNSC following a deal between the E3 and Tehran.

''So the US really does reach out to work in a multilateral way. We did it with Iran, we did it with Libya, we are doing it with North Korea. We have demonstrated our desire to work in partnership with Europe,'' concluded Powell on what is to be his last tour of Europe before handing over the rein of the state department to Condoleezza Rice early next year.

... Payvand News - 12/9/04 ... --

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