The foreign ministers of Britain and Germany issued a joint warning to Iran on Tuesday to address international worries about its nuclear program, serving notice that Tehran must take action immediately.
Germany's Joschka Fischer confers with Britain's Jack Straw
"We have worked very closely to try and deal with the deep concerns we have about Iran's nuclear program," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said following talks in London with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer. "Iran has yet to give us the confidence we need about its intentions," he said at a joint press conference with Fischer, who endorsed the sentiments.
"I want to underline that we are very much on the same track on Iran. We are very concerned about the developments and I think it's very important that there is not a miscalculation in Tehran," the German minister said.
Call for suspension of uranium enrichment
Iran stands accused of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge it denies. In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on Iran to "immediately" widen its suspension of uranium enrichment to include all uranium enrichment-related activities, which it has so far refused to do so.
Iran faces a November 25 deadline, after which it risks being referred to the United Nations Security Council for further action. Immediate action was needed, Straw stressed, saying: "We can't go on indefinitely."
"Iran can still give us confidence before the next meeting of the IAEA's board on November 25 by introducing an indefinite suspension of its enrichment and processing-related activities."
Confidence cannot yet be restored
Earlier, another British minister urged Tehran to "act decisively" if it was to avoid being referred to the Security Council. "Confidence cannot be restored unless Iran agrees to suspend its fuel cycle activity, including all centrifuge work and uranium conversion," International Security Minister Denis MacShane said at a meeting in London.
Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran is at the center of the row.
"They are not necessary for a civil nuclear power generation program but would give Iran the technologies which would help it towards a military nuclear capability."
"Iran faces a clear choice," MacShane said. "It can choose to live up to its commitments, comply in full with the (IAEA) board's resolutions, including by putting in place a full and lasting suspension and reap the benefits of the international confidence this would create. Or it can spurn the chance to reassure the international community."
He added: "In that case the board will need to discuss additional measures, including very probably referral to the UN Security Council."
"Carrots and sticks" plan rebuffed by Iran
The flags of the G8 nations plus the EU flag.
This latest meeting follows Friday's session of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations, where the European Union presented its plans to use a "carrots and sticks" approach with Tehran, offering incentives in exchange for a verified suspension and eventual termination of uranium enrichment.
Iranian officials almost immediately rejected any such plan, saying that incentives used in dealing with other states such as Libya would not work with Iran.
One Western diplomat said that at Friday's G8 meeting, the US response to the EU was one of deep skepticism about whether Iran would comply with the terms of the deal, which is aimed at cutting off Iran's ability to make bomb-grade uranium. "Neither the Russians nor the Americans actively support the EU three deal," said one Western diplomat about the G8 meeting.