London, Aug 12, IRNA-The British government Friday put onus on Iran to prevent confrontation on its nuclear programme by insisting that it made a "serious mistake" by resuming part of its fuel cycle activities.
"We hope Iran will reverse this decision, and return to the negotiating table with the UK, France and Germany who are backed fully by the European Union," Foreign Office Minister, Ian Pearson, said.
His call came after the board of governors at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna expressed "serious concern" that Iran had started to feed uranium ore concentrate and remove seals at its conversion plant in Isfahan.
The restarting of the first part of the process line followed the failure in negotiations with the EU3 to reach long-term arrangements on Iran's nuclear programme after it agreed to suspend such activity as a "voluntary, non-binding confidence-building measure" last November.
In a statement obtained by IRNA, Pearson insisted Iran had made a "serious mistake" in resuming part of its fuel cycle. "There is no good reason why it should have done this if its intentions are peaceful and it wants to resolve international concerns," he argued.
He suggested that it was again up to Iran to "restore the confidence of the international community and provide the right guarantees that its nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful." Without mentioning Iran had the right under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to develop its own fuel cycle, the minister said that "suspending all uranium conversion activity is an essential part" of restoring confidence to continue negotiations.
"We still believe there is a non-confrontational way forward and we hope that Iran makes that choice by resuming full suspension of all their nuclear fuel cycle activity, as called for in yesterday's resolution," the minister said.
In its resolution, the IAEA board requested Director General Mohammed el-Baradei to provide a comprehensive report on whether Iran was implementing its Safeguards Agreement by September 3, when a further meeting is expected to be held to decide the next steps.
Previously, the UK has threatened to take the case to the UN Security Council, but there was no mention of this either in the IAEA resolution or by Pearson.
In contrast to the UK's call, two leading British dailies Friday urged Britain, France and Germany to continue negotiations with Iran to seek a solution to its nuclear programme.
"It has been brave and right for the Europeans to try the diplomatic route and, in spite of the disappointments of the last week, they must keep on trying," the Guardian said.
"That is preferable to another Iraq-style international crisis and the danger either of a US or Israeli air strike against Iranian nuclear installations, or of Iran announcing one day that it has the bomb," it warned in its editorial.
The Financial Times also said the "only likely way forward is the path of engagement" and that the offer of a deal with carrots was a "better bet than the available sticks."
"Distasteful as it may be to Washington, the US and the EU need to agree, explicitly and publicly, on real incentives for Tehran, including clear security guarantees and a new security architecture in the Persian Gulf inclusive of Iran," it proposed.
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