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British PM Warns of Tougher Sanctions for Iran Nuclear Program


In a major speech, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned Iran that by continuing to enrich uranium, it faces tougher international sanctions.

Speaking at a major international nuclear energy conference in London, the British prime minister underlined that Iran has the same right to a peaceful civil nuclear program as any other country and he said under the right conditions, Britain and other states would be willing to help Iran in that endeavor.

But Britain and some others in the West continue to have reservations about Iran's nuclear activities. Mr. Brown said Tehran now faces a choice.

"Iran's current nuclear program is unacceptable. Iran has concealed its nuclear activities, refused to cooperate with the IAEA, flouted U.N. Security Council resolutions and its refusal to play by the rules leaves us to view its nuclear program as a critical proliferation threat," he said. "Iran therefore faces a clear choice. To continue in this way and face further and tougher sanctions or change to a U.N. overseen civil nuclear energy program that will bring the greatest benefits to its citizens."

Gordon Brown said the possibility of a new dialogue has now emerged and that represents an offer Tehran must take up.

"I hope that Iran will make the right choice and take advantage of the international community's willingness to negotiate, including President Obama's offer of engagement rather than face further sanctions and regional instability," he said. "So I urge Iran once again to work with us, rather than against us upon this. The opportunity to do so remains on the table and the choice is Iran's to make."

Mr. Brown said nuclear power had a part to play as the world tries to wean itself off fossil fuels under the growing threat of climate change. And the prime minister stressed that in the coming years, ways must be found to help non-nuclear states obtain civilian nuclear power to meet energy needs.

Iran maintains its enrichment program has been part of a peaceful civilian energy program.

Overtures of diplomatic engagement from the Obama administration have so far been met with a mixed response from Iran. And past sanctions have failed to deter the state from proceeding with its nuclear research activities.



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