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Germany urges leading nuclear powers to disarm

Written by: Staff

Berlin, June 17: Germany today called for the world's leading nuclear powers to reduce their atomic arsenals as they press Iran to curb its nuclear programme.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- to make concessions in the context of the Iran dispute, Spiegel magazine reported.

''I am in fact of the view that, beyond the current Iran conflict, we must review the worldwide nuclear armament status,'' Steinmeier told Spiegel.

''We are in favour of effectively applying the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It contains the promise of the nuclear powers disarming, and we should press them to do that,'' he said.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a 1970 global pact against the spread of atomic weapons which is policed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

Germany, a non-nuclear power, and the five permanent U.N.

Security Council members have offered Tehran a package under which Iran would get trade and technology benefits if it halts uranium enrichment work.

''So far we have not had a clear sign, or a real reaction,'' Steinmeier said of the offer made to Iran. ''What is positive, however, is that we are apparently for the first time seeing Iran in a state of reflection.'' Steinmeier added that he hoped Iran's leadership would ''find the way through the open door''.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday the United States had heard some positive statements from Tehran over the offer.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for power generation. The United States says it is a front for building nuclear arms.


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