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US says Germany has assured it no divide over Iran

Written by: Staff
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WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) Germany has assured the United States there is no divide between its position and that of the major powers on the issue of Iran not enriching uranium in its nuclear program, the U.S. State Department said today.

Deputy spokesman Adam Ereli, referring to a Reuters interview with Germany's defense minister that suggested a split among major powers, said ''there's no division.'' He added that when asked to clarify their position, the Germans told Washington ''this is an erroneous story.'' In an interview with Reuters this week, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung was asked if Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium under the scrutiny of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

''I think so. The offer includes everything. That means the civilian use of nuclear energy is possible but not atomic weapons. And monitoring mechanisms must be applied. I think it would be wise for Iran to accept this offer,'' he said.

Jung was referring to a June 6 offer of incentives made to Iran to persuade it to curb its nuclear program by Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia.

The minister's comments were seen as suggesting that after years of failed negotiations with Iran, Germany and some other Western powers are willing to compromise with Iran over enrichment in order to resolve peacefully the nuclear stand-off with Tehran.

Ereli, at a daily news briefing, said: ''We've all said Iran has theoretical right to nuclear energy but there needs to be specific guarantees, safeguards based on specific agreements.

So their right to peaceful use of nuclear energy is not a subject of debate.'' He noted suggestions that ''they (Iranians) had the right to enrich, and that's really where I think some confusion might have been caused and what I wanted to dispel ...There is no division. There is full and complete (major power) consensus on this very important point, and that has been reiterated to us by the German government.'' ''We've been in touch with the German government. They have assured us that there's no change in their policy; that they are firmly and completely with the P-5-plus-1 consensus on this. And that consensus is based on IAEA Board of Governors resolutions and UN Security Council resolutions,'' Ereli added.

REUTERS SHR RS2343

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