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Blair, Chirac hope IAEA confirms Iran's voluntary suspension

London, Nov 19, IRNA - British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac Thursday jointly welcomed the agreement negotiated by the European Union on Iran's nuclear programme.

"We look forward to the international Atomic Energy Agency reporting to the Board of Governors' meeting commencing on November 25 that Iran's voluntary suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities is in place," the said.

In a joint communique issued after the 17th Anglo-French summit, both leaders said it was "essential now for the agreement to be implemented in full."

The agreement, negotiated in Paris this month, provides "firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues" with Iran in return for the voluntary suspension of enriching uranium.

At a joint press conference, Chirac described the agreement as an "exemplary example of how problems can be resolved by European diplomacy."

Blair said that in contrast to the differences between Britain and France over Iraq, the approach to Iran's nuclear programme was the "best example of European diplomacy.

In respect to the agreement, he said that it showed really how the two European countries could act "in concert together." Asked whether he was confident whether Iran would hold to its suspension, he said that "time will tell."

A British Foreign Office spokesman also told IRNA Thursday that the UK government hoped the IAEA would give "definite evidence" that Iran has suspended the development of facilities to enrich uranium when its board of governors meet in Vienna next week.

He said that the "pressure was not there" to send Iran's case to the United Nations. "Britain does not think at this stage of taking Iran to the Security Council," he said.

"The suspension phrase was absolutely crucial to the whole agreement I do not think at this stage," the spokesman said during a briefing at the Foreign Office. "The key was that it was voluntary and not legally-binding, which is what Iran wanted," he said.

With regard to its duration, he said that it was while the so- called EU3 proceed with negotiations with Iran on a long-term agreement.

It was until the IAEA achieves its object that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear programme for military purposes, the Foreign Office spokesman said. "If its take six month, it would be great. If it takes six years, then so be it," he said.

On the EU side of the agreement to offer cooperation, he said it would go forward with essentially three steering groups meeting to discuss the main areas of nuclear technology, economic cooperation and security next month.

The spokesman suggested that as confidence builds up Iran would achieve its aim "little by little" of being treated like other members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and not be subjected to special reports by the IAEA every three months.

... Payvand News - 11/19/04 ... --

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