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UK warns Iran over nuclear standoff
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Iran faces a "clear choice" in its development of nuclear technology for civilian purposes.
Brown warned at a Tuesday conference in London that Iran had to choose between international cooperation and tougher sanctions over its disputed program.
"Let me be unequivocal: Iran has the same absolute right to a peaceful civil nuclear program as any other country. Indeed, the UK and international community stand ready to help Iran achieve it," said the premier. "But let me be equally clear that Iran's current nuclear program is unacceptable."
Iran says the only objective of its nuclear program is to make use of the civilian applications of the technology. The UK, along with the US, Israel and their European allies -- France and Germany --, accuse the country of having military intentions in its pursuit.
Tehran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and, according to the UN nuclear watchdog, has not opted to violate the treaty.
The latest UN nuclear watchdog report on Iran maintained that there had been no "diversion" of declared nuclear material in the country, indicating that Iran has truthful about the nature of its nuclear plans.
Brown, however, labeled Tehran as "a test case" in potential quests by other nations seeking to secure civil nuclear power, claiming that Iran remained at a "critical proliferation threat" as it continued to enrich uranium.
"Iran, therefore, faces a clear choice," he added. "Continue in this way and face further and tougher sanctions, or change to a UN-overseen civil nuclear energy program that will bring the greatest benefits to its citizens."
The West wants Tehran to abandon its enrichment activities while the Allies prepare to engage the Iranian side in dialogue. Tehran says it is entitled to enrich uranium to provide fuel for its under-construction nuclear power plants.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi reacted to Brown's remarks and said they were "full of contradictions".
"(Mr. Brown) stressed that Iran, like all countries, has an 'absolute right' to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, while claiming the current program is unacceptable," Qashqavi said in a Tuesday statement, a copy of which was obtained by Press TV.
He contended that the Iranian program is fully observed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Referring to the dialogue proposal between Iran and the West, Qashqavi said the Iranian government had "repeatedly announced its readiness to hold" such talks.