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British State Minister: Britain would like to see Iran more friendly and stable in relation to neighboring Azerbaijan

21 October 2010 [10:37] - TODAY.AZ
Iran's isolation, its unwillingness to discuss its nuclear program with the international community is not profitable to anyone, said the British State Minister for European Affairs David Lidington, who is on visit to Baku.

"Nobody benefits that with its actions, Iran has excluded itself from the process of negotiations on an issue that affects the entire region and which also assumes importance for Britain," said Lidington, making a speech at the Azerbaijan University of Languages.

Iran's refusal to negotiate also does not meet the interests of millions of Iranians, he said.

Iranian nuclear program has been a cause for concern since 2003, when the IAEA became aware of its clandestine activities. Several states, including the U.S., believe that Iran tries to develop nuclear weapons, and require to prevent this development. However, Iran argues that as a party to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

"Britain and the EU as a whole try to have constructive partnership relations with Iran - an important country with an ancient history to be proud of, with a dynamic society, a country located in the center of the region, extremely important for the whole world from an economic point of view," said Lidington.

The Minister said Britain would also like to see Iran more friendly and stable in relation to neighboring Azerbaijan.

The EU supports the peaceful nuclear program of Iran, the Minister said. However, if Iran continues to reject the proposed support for it, the pressure through economic sanctions by the UN, EU and other structures will continue.

So far, the UN Security Council has adopted six resolutions, four of which are aimed at imposing sanctions against Iran, requiring it to abandon uranium enrichment, and two resolutions containing warnings. Tehran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program has exclusively peaceful purposes.

Enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons. Furthermore, it is necessary as fuel for nuclear power plants. However, so far Iran has failed to prove the peaceful purposes of its nuclear program. The Iranian side's refusal to ensure the entry of IAEA inspectors and information about the hidden nuclear facilities also reinforces doubts.

In June, Iran denied the entry of two IAEA inspectors. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that "the inspectors declared persona non grata in Iran" "have provided false information" about Iran's nuclear program and "early disclosed official information".

Sanctions against Iran are not an attempt to change the regime in the country, Lidington said in his speech.

"This is an attempt to show the Iranian leadership that they have a choice: to sit at the negotiating table with representatives of the international community to discuss its nuclear program or face further international isolation and pressure," he said.


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