Remarks by Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger on Iran: "First positive gestures – but now concrete steps are required"

October 2, 2009

"The first direct talks with Iran in more than a year have shown that the policy of extending a hand toward Iran is right. This a positive start, and demonstrates that the diplomatic means of dialogue have not been exhausted. Yet Iran must now take concrete steps to create the necessary confidence basis. Iran must convince us that its nuclear programme pursues purely peaceful objectives", said Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at yesterday's meeting of the representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, under the participation of Germany and EU's High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, with the Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva.

"Iran must take the clear message of the international community seriously and show lasting willingness to address its concerns. The fact that Iran is now willing to invite a team of experts from the IAEA to inspect the nuclear installation in Ghom and to have part of its low-enriched uranium for medical purposes further enriched abroad constitute first positive gestures. It remains to be seen, however, whether its words will be followed by deeds. Only upon this will the country be judged",said the Foreign Minister.

Moreover, the Iranian side agreed yesterday to participate in another round of talks before the end of October. "This is an encouraging progress. Iran must be aware, though, that these talks are not an end in themselves, but are linked to clear expectations on our side. The door stands open - Teheran should not thoughtlessly squander this offer", said Spindelegger.

After the existence of a second uranium enrichment facility in the city of Ghom and new missile tests became known, and in view of the tense inner political situation since the presidential elections in June, the international pressure on Iran had mounted.

Last week Foreign Minister Spindelegger met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with his Iranian colleague Manouchehr Mottaki and insistently pointed out to him that the patience of the international community is running thin, and that the international community will not tolerate an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.