Wednesday, April 12, 2006

EU says Iran nuclear announcement "regrettable"

Reuters report Apr 12, 2006:

Iran's announcement that it has enriched uranium is regrettable, but the European Union will continue to press for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over its nuclear programme, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Tuesday that Iran had produced the enriched uranium needed to make nuclear fuel for the first time.

"This is regrettable," said Emma Udwin, a spokeswomen for Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's commissioner for external relations. "We will continue to seek a diplomatic solution, but such announcements are not helpful."

Europe's three main powers -- Germany, France and Britain -- called off 2-1/2 years of talks on closer ties with Iran after it announced in January that it would resume enrichment work.

The so-called EU3 has made a renewed suspension of all enrichment-related activity a condition for restarting negotiations. Tehran refused, saying enrichment is a sovereign right it will not give up.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at producing electricity and is not, as Washington and the European Union say, a cover for developing atom bombs.

At a meeting on Monday, European foreign ministers reviewed options for restrictive measures against Iran drafted by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, including possible visa bans and financial sanctions if Tehran pressed on with sensitive nuclear activity.