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Britain Says Iran Must Prove Nuclear Intentions Are Peaceful

By Michael Drudge, VOA, London

Britain says Iran must convince the world that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw discussed the issue as the world's major powers met in London on the Iran nuclear issue.

Foreign Secretary Straw says the burden of proof is on Iran to demonstrate it is not attempting to build nuclear weapons.

"The onus is on Iran to act to give the international community confidence that its nuclear program has exclusively peaceful purposes, confidence I'm afraid that has been sorely undermined by its history of concealment and deception," he said.

Straw spoke as officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany gathered in London for talks on the Iran nuclear issue.

The meeting follows a call last week by Britain, France and Germany for the matter to be taken up at an emergency meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The aim is for the IAEA to recommend that the Security Council deliberate the Iran case with an eye toward possible sanctions.

In a related development, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has come out against any attempt by Iran to build nuclear weapons.

The official, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told British television he questions why Iran would need a nuclear bomb.

"Where are they going to use these weapons? In Israel? If they hit Israel they are going to kill Palestinians," he said. "If they miss Israel they are going to hit Saudi Arabia or Jordan. "Where is the game in that?"

However, the prince says the West bears some responsibility for Tehran's apparent nuclear ambitions by letting Israel become an undeclared nuclear power.

Iran announced last week that it will resume activities at its uranium enrichment facility, which had been under IAEA supervision. Iran says it wants nuclear power for peaceful, civilian purposes. But the United States and the major European Union powers suspect Iran intends to build a nuclear weapon.

International concern also has risen since Iranian President Mahmoud Amhadinejad recently said Israel should be, in his words, "wiped off the map."

... Payvand News - 1/16/06 ... --

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