Brown urges Iran to stop uranium enrichment works
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appealed Tuesday for Iran to end its uranium enrichment works in return for international assistance in developing nuclear power. Brown said Tehran had a "clear choice" between cooperating with the international community or facing tougher sanctions over its enrichment activities.
A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, however, described Brown's words as "very contradictory" and insisted Iran's nuclear development was peaceful.
The British leader told an international conference in London that Iran represents a crucial test for the world as it faces the prospects of a huge expansion in nuclear power generation in response to climate change. "Iran is a test case for this new philosophy of the right to civil nuclear power with sanctions for rule breakers," Brown said, adding it had "the same absolute right to a peaceful civil nuclear programme as any other country. "Indeed the UK and the international community stand ready to help Iran achieve it.
"But let me be equally clear that Iran's current nuclear programme is unacceptable. Iran has concealed nuclear activities, refused to cooperate with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and flouted UN Security Council resolutions," he stated, according to AFP.
Brown said: "Iran therefore faces a clear choice -- continue in this way and face further and tougher sanctions, or change to a UN-overseen civil nuclear energy programme that will bring the greatest benefits to its citizens. "I hope that Iran will make the right choice."
On his part, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi, though, was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying: "The British prime minister's comments are very contradictory."
"All Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful and supervised by the IAEA. It is completely unfounded to say Iran is a proliferation threat."
Brown told the audience of scientists and diplomats that if Iran dropped its defiant stance and agreed to cooperate with the international community it could be part of a number of states who could benefit from assistance in developing their civil nuclear power sectors. "We have to create a new international system to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need.
"Because -- whether we like it or not -- we will not meet the challenges of climate change without the far wider use of civil nuclear power."