Iran seeking to divide global community: France

French Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy warned that Iran is trying to divide the global community in order to pursue its contested nuclear activities.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 18:18 IST

Iran is trying to divide the international community in order to pursue its contested nuclear activities, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy warned in comments released on Thursday.

"If the international community were to become divided, Iran would continue" its uranium enrichment activities, Douste-Blazy charged in an interview to appear in the French weekly Valeurs Actuelles.

"That is what some in Tehran are waiting for, in order to call into question the system of non-proliferation," he said.

Douste-Blazy called for a sustained effort to engage Tehran in a dialogue over the stand-off and warned against moving towards confrontation with the Islamic republic.

"While pursuing consultations on the adoption of a new resolution (at the UN Security Council), we need to maintain dialogue with Tehran," he said.

"If one or two of the permanent members of the Security Council fail to uphold this dialogue, and there is a growing drive—on either side—towards confrontation, the international community would split."

Iran was expected on Thursday to answer US charges that it should face UN sanctions for defying calls to suspend uranium enrichment, at a meeting of the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Washington, which accuses Iran of pursuing a secret nuclear weapons programme, is pushing for UN sanctions against Tehran for failing to meet an August 31 deadline to halt enrichment work.

The five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany are to meet in New York, on the sidelines of this month's UN General Assembly, to discuss imposing sanctions, according to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Iran insists the nuclear work is aimed at electricity generation and has rejected the UN demand, although negotiations have continued between Iran and European Union officials acting as mediators in the dispute.

First Published: Sep 14, 2006 18:18 IST