EU warns Iran to negotiate or face more sanctions

By Xinhua

Vienna : The European Union (EU) has warned Iran to return to the negotiating table or face more sanctions from the UN Security Council.

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"If Iran does not re-engage in discussions, proper action in New York (housing UN headquarters) remains unavoidable," Peter Gottwald, German ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Wednesday told reporters on behalf of the EU.

Gottwald was attending a five-day meeting of the 35-nation board of governors of IAEA that started to discuss here Monday the agency's 2006 annual report and nuclear safety and security issues.

All enrichment related activities in Iran must be suspended under the Security Council resolutions and without delay Iran must implement all verification measures, which IAEA deems necessary, Gottwald earlier said in his statement to the board.

Gottwald, however, said the EU reaffirms its continuous support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Britain, France and Germany, in their joint statement in addition to the EU's, took a similar position.

"If Iran refuses to change course, we shall have no alternative to returning again to the UN Security Council," the three countries warned.

The Security Council has adopted two rounds of sanctions against Iran, requiring Tehran to suspend its uranium enrichment activity.