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Europe

EU Says Strike on Iran a Mistake

A military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a “mistake,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana said and stressed the importance of continuing EU efforts at diplomatic engagement.

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"Military action will complicate the situation enormously," Solana said


Speaking on British ITV television on Sunday, the EU’s high representative for foreign and security policy said that unilateral military action against Iran would be counter-productive to current negotiations by Germany, France and Britain to convince the Islamic Republic to disband its nuclear program.

“I think that would be something I would not like to see taking place. That would be a mistake. That will complicate enormously the situation,” he said referring to US Vice President Dick Cheney’s warning last month that Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities without warning.

Asked if he thought US military action against Iran was possible – an option US President George W. Bush has floated recently – Solana said it was “very difficult to conceive.”

US strike unlikely

"I don't think that the United States has at this point of time the wish or the will or the capability to do that," he said. Only a few days ago US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reassured leaders in Berlin and London that a military strike against Iran was “simply not on the agenda.”

EU Iran Atomstreit Treffen in Brüssel

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani, 2nd left, meets with foreign ministers from Germany, France and Britain on Dec. 13

At the moment, Washington is concentrating on diplomatic means, she said in a nod to the efforts of Germany, France and Britain to convince Iran to abandon any military nuclear program in return for cooperation with civilian projects. The US is currently in discussion with “our EU colleagues on a solid message to the Iranians,” she said after meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"The European three are giving the Iranians an opportunity to demonstrate that they are prepared to live up to international obligations ... and I really do hope the Iranians will take the opportunity,” Rice said.

Iran tells EU to get “serious”

For its part, Tehran cautioned the European Union Sunday that it needed to be “more serious “in negotiations, and threatened that a slip-up on the EU’s side would jeopardize the talks.

“We hope the Europeans remember the promises they made in the previous negotiations,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. “Naturally, if we see they cannot keep their promises or are not serious, we’ll make other decisions,” he added.

Iran Atomanlage in Isfahan Uran

Isfahan uranium conversion facility in central Iran

In November, Iran agreed with the EU big three to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities in return for talks on trade, security and technological bonuses for the Islamic Republic. At the moment, discussions are stuck on a demand by EU negotiators that Iran totally dismantle is nuclear fuel program, including enrichment, as a guarantee that it does not seek to develop atomic weapons.

Enrichment, which is a key process in making fuel for nuclear reactors as well as the explosive core of atomic bombs, is authorized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, provided the purpose of it is peaceful. Iran stands by its right to pursue enrichment, but critics see the process as a dangerous loophole and want Iran to disband the activity completely.

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