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Blair Expresses 'Deep Dismay' About Iran's Nuclear Activity


British Prime Minister Tony Blair says Iran's decision to resume nuclear enrichment activities has caused dismay and alarm around the world. The prime minister says he expects United Nations action on the issue.

Prime Minister Blair has told parliament Iran's decision to resume activities at a nuclear enrichment facility, coupled with its recent threats against Israel, constitute a grave concern for the international community.

"The decision by Iran is very serious indeed," he said. "I do not think there is any point in hiding our deep dismay at what Iran has decided to do. And when taken in conjunction with their other comments about the state of Israel, they cause real and serious alarm right across the world."

Mr. Blair confirmed the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany will meet Thursday in Berlin to discuss the crisis, and he expects the matter to end up before the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions against Iran.

"I think the first thing to do is to secure agreement for a reference to the Security Council if that is indeed what the allies jointly decide, as I think seems likely," the prime minister said. "Then at that point we have to decide what measures we are going to take. And we obviously do not rule out any measures at all. It is important that Iran recognizes how seriously the international community treats it. But I think we are better to go through the process of first having the meetings and discussions and reaching agreement and then we can set out what measures we want to take."

Mr. Blair's comments reflect the concern being heard in other capitals across Europe.

In Moscow, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said he is alarmed and disappointed by Iran's action. Russia's views are being closely monitored because Moscow has been helping Iran build a civilian nuclear reactor, and Russia wields veto power on the U.N. Security Council.