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'World must unite against Iran's N-programme'

Italy's foreign minister said Iran's nuclear programme is testing the resolve of the global community.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 11:13 IST

Iran's nuclear programme is testing the resolve of the international community and the world needs a unified approach to the escalating diplomatic standoff, Italy's foreign minister said.

In an interview with the agency on Friday, Gianfranco Fini also said Israel must be dissuaded from any pre-emptive strike against Iran.

Fini spoke hours after Iran announced it was moving its foreign exchange reserves out of European banks as protection against any possible UN sanctions over its nuclear programme.

"This decision too is part of Tehran's strategy," Fini said, describing it as "a strategy of testing the level of unity and resolve of the international community."

Tehran, he said, swings from "alleged dialogue" and "good will in words" to "moments of closure, provocation and in some cases, unacceptable threats."

"The international community must have a defined, very precise, very united strategy," said Fini, who will be in Washington for talks with the Bush administration next week.

Fini warned that any pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities would have potentially disastrous consequences for the Middle East and the world.

"The international community must absolutely do everything in its power to avert an even bigger conflict," he said in response to a question on how he would view the possibility of such an attack.

"With the same firmness with which I say that Iran represents a danger ... I tell Israel that you cannot and must not think of launching a pre-emptive attack because it would set the whole Middle East and the whole world on fire for who knows how many decades," Fini said.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 09:01 IST