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Britain's Straw Pushing Diplomacy to Solve Iran Nuclear Issue

  • Ayaz Gul

Britain is playing down fears of a possible armed conflict over Iran's controversial nuclear program. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he believes a diplomatic solution to the issue is possible.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met Pakistani leaders in Islamabad to discuss efforts Britain and other European nations are making to peacefully resolve the controversy over Iran's nuclear program.

Speaking to reporters after the meetings, Mr. Straw said extensive discussions are taking place among European and Iranian officials.

"I have been working very closely with the foreign ministers of Germany and France in negotiations with Iran to try to bring them fully into compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said. " We happen to believe that there can be and ought to be a diplomatic solution to this problem."

The United States and the European Union have condemned Iran's uranium-enrichment program, which they fear is a meant to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian leaders have repeatedly denied this, saying the program is only for peacetime use and is allowed under Iran's obligations to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Addressing the same news conference, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri said his country supports Iran's right to develop its nuclear program, as long as it is for civilian use and does not violate the treaty.

He praised the effort by Britain, Germany, and France to resolve the current impasse.

"Any doubts or disagreements that may arise, regarding the implementations or obligations undertaken by states, should be resolved peacefully," he said. "Pakistan supports the current engagement between Iran and the 'EU Three' that is aimed at reaching a broad and amicable agreement."

Pakistan has said it has also contacted Iranian officials to discuss the matter. Iran and Pakistan are neighbors, and Islamabad is concerned that the dispute could grow into a regional conflict.