European foreign ministers meeting in Finland have put on hold the idea of bringing in sanctions against Iran over its atomic activities. Instead they said that even though the UN deadline over Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme had been ignored, now was not the moment to punish.
Austria’s Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik: “The time is always right for diplomacy. We need patience, a lot of patience and more clarity. This is what we will discuss today with out partners and we need a unified position.” The meeting is being chaired by Finland which currently holds the EU rotating presidency.
The bloc’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, is hoping to have a meeting next week with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and says he will seek an answer to major power proposals for broad cooperation. After Iran’s Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defiantly rejected UN calls to abandon his nuclear programme, the US took a hard line and warned that he must face the consequences. Tehran claims its atomic research and development is for peaceful purposes and has defended its right to the technology.