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Military action is still inconceivable against Iran, says UK's Straw

London, Sept 28, IRNA-British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Wednesday that there were very important implications for the future of the Middle East in the way the issue of Iran's nuclear program as well as Turkey's bid to join the EU were being dealt with.

"I believe how we handle Turkey and separately how we handle Iran will determine in a very fundamental way (the) geopolitical landscape for years and years to come," Straw said.

"That is why we need to sort the Iran issue," he said. It was also why the British government had been "working night and day" in resolving the start of accession negotiations with Turkey, he added, hoping that this would be agreed by EU foreign ministers next week.

The British foreign secretary was speaking on BBC Radio Four's Today program ahead of his address to Labour's annual conference in Brighton, southern England, about which he said would include Iran and its neighbour Turkey as a "very key point." In his interview, he attempted to clarify his apparent differences with Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for the US president not ruling out an attack on Iran.

For any US president, it was his "formal position" to state that all options remained on the table, Straw said, adding that is "always" the case.

"The truth is, as (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice has made clear, military action in respect of the Iran dossier is not on anybody's agenda," he said.

"I believe it is inconceivable still," Straw said when asked about his previous stance against the use of force against Iran.

"It is not on the table, not on the agenda, I happen to think it is inconceivable," he emphasized.

He said the Iran nuclear issue was "very difficult" as "we don't know for certain as to whether it may try to use ts program for a weapons capability." It was only that the "circumstantial evidence is strong," he said.

The aim with France and Germany was to gain an international consensus and "ensure the US has been fully backing us on this diplomatic route," the foreign secretary said.

He said it was "very important" to have achieved last Saturday's IAEA resolution in declaring Iran "non-compliant." But he emphasised that it also "left the door open for further diplomatic action with Iran" and said he hoped that "they take this opportunity."

... Payvand News - 9/28/05 ... --

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