Remarks by Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on Iran

September 25, 2009

"Iran must be aware that the patience of the international community is running out", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger following his meeting with his Iranian colleague Manouchehr Mottaki at the margin of the UN General Assembly in New York.

He explained to the Iranian Foreign Minister "in a very open discussion" that Iran should "grasp the extended hand of US President Barack Obama". Numerous meetings he had on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly had clearly shown him that "the international community does not want an Iran armed with nuclear weapons".

During the Security Council meeting on Thursday, Austria also underscored that there is currently no confidence on an international level in the purely peaceful character of the Iranian nuclear programme. The recent information of a second nuclear enrichment facility is a matter of additional concern. "It is up to Iran to restore this confidence. If Iran refuses to respond constructively and substantially to the new negotiation offer, it must expect a clear reaction by the international community", stressed Spindelegger.

As Spindelegger emphasized, the discussion between the two Foreign Ministers also focused on the situation in Iran following the latest presidential elections. He expressed his consternation toward Mottaki over the systematic disregard and suppression of the freedom of expression. "I am convinced that this policy of intimidation will not be successful in the long run. Iranians have shown before and after the election that they will not be silenced", emphasized Spindelegger after the meeting.

"I also clearly explained to Minister Mottaki that we regard yesterday's statements - addressed to Israel - by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad as unacceptable", Spindelegger continued. "We see the United Nations as a place of dialogue. For this reason, we by all means reject any efforts to abuse the UN General Assembly as a platform for intolerance, anti-Semitism, and racial hatred", the Foreign Minister concluded.