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US needs to address Iran's security concerns, says Hannay

London, July 15, IRNA-Former British Ambassador to the United Nations, Lord Hannay, insists that the US needs to be involved if the EU is giving to achieve any breakthrough in its negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme.

"I continue to hold the view that at some stage direct contacts will be needed between the United States and Iran if Iran's security concerns are to be addressed," Hannay said.

"That is essential if there is to be a negotiated outcome," he told a debate in the House of Lords Thursday on a European Union Committee report on 'Preventing Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.'

His call came as a report in the Financial Times Friday suggested that the EU was willing to cooperate with Iran on its civilian nuclear power programme and help to reduce its dependency on fuel imports from Russia.

"At the centre of the European Union's plans is an offer to help Iran develop nuclear power stations and to provide an alternative source to Russia for fuel supply - in return for stopping nuclear fuel production in Iran itself," it said.

The paper insisted that European diplomats were "still adamantly opposed to Tehran's key demand: to retain even a symbolic uranium- enrichment facility."

Hannay, who was a language student in Tehran during the 1960s, believed that the outcome of the recent presidential election in Iran was "not likely to have made it any easier" for the EU's negotiations, led by Britain, France and Germany.

"Much patience, perseverance and determination will be necessary," the independent peer warned, suggesting that the negotiation in the end may be to "no avail."

If the issue is eventually brought to the Security Council, he said that it would be "of the greatest importance that the EU3 and the US speak and act in unison."

"Any reversion to the divided councils that we saw over Iraq would be disastrous and will guarantee a drift towards a situation that would be bad for all concerned," he warned.

On Wednesday, Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said in a written parliamentary reply that officials from the so-called EU3 were still currently working on proposals due to be presented to Iran within the next few weeks.

"We will remain in close touch with our partners in the EU and elsewhere as our ideas develop. Long-term arrangements must provide objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes," he said.

... Payvand News - 7/15/05 ... --

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