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Blair hopeful of success of 'constructive approach' to Iran

London, Feb 8, IRNA -- Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed optimism Tuesday that the 'constructive approach' led by Britain, France and Germany over reaching a long-term agreement on Iran's nuclear program would prove successful.

"I hope it does work. I think it is a good sign that Europe and America are working together over it. I think it is a good sign that France and Germany, with whom we disagreed over Iraq, are working very closely in relation to Iran," Blair said.

"Iran now has been given a set of obligations that it's got to fulfill. I hope they fulfill it," he said in answer to a question on whether he believed that the 'constructive approach' to Iran's nuclear program was likely to be effective.

The British premier was giving evidence at his six-monthly appearance in front of the Commons Liaison Committee, made up of chairmen of various parliamentary committees.

In response to a question from Conservative MP Edward Leigh, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, on whether he would be trusted if he came to parliament to seek approval for action against Iran, he was forced to defend his record on Iraq.

"Firstly, I am not saying that. Secondly, I think it depends on what the evidence base is," Blair insisted before claiming that he was still right to go to war against Iraq.

"The position in relation to Iraq and weapons of mass destruction is somewhat more nuance than your question suggests," he said when pressed further on whether he would be believed if he claimed Iran had WMDs.

"I don't think that it is disputed that there is an issue to do with Iran and nuclear weapons capability that is why France and Germany have been working with the UK," the British prime minister said.

He also refused to answer whether he thought Iran was a so-called "failed state or, in Bush's words, the world's primary sponsor of terror."

"It certainly does sponsor terrorism. There is no doubt about that at all," Blair insisted.

"I hope very much if we can make progress in the Middle East that Iran realizes that it's got an obligation to help that not hinder it," he said.

During his questioning, that was centered on Iraq, the economic and climate change, the premier expressed optimism that this month's NATO summit may agree to help train Iraq's fledgling security forces.

He also suggested that details of how British and US troops will hand over control of security in Iraq to the country's own forces could soon be unveiled.

... Payvand News - 2/8/05 ... --

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