UN chief: Mistrust underpins Iran nuclear program

UN chief Ban Ki-moon says a lack of trust toward Iran underpins the showdown in the UN Security Council over its controversial nuclear program.

'This crisis, it seems to me that there is a serious lack of optimism and trust towards Iran in its core,' he told the start of a UN conference on the Alliance of Civilisations being held in Rio de Janeiro.

'Iran has said it would continue the process to enrich uranium at 20 per cent, and that has caused serious concern among the international community,' he said.

'It would be helpful if Iran agreed to stop trying to enrich uranium at 20 per cent.'

The United States and its European allies believe Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its atomic energy program. Tehran denies that.

'I think we all agree that the Iranian nuclear issue has become one of the critical sources of concern and tension within the international community,' Ban said, without referring to a US draft resolution before the UN Security Council calling for further sanctions against Iran.

Ban said the United Nations appreciated a recent attempt by Brazil and Turkey - both temporary security council members - to commit Iran to deposit about half of its uranium stock in Turkey in exchange for 20-per cent enriched nuclear fuel.

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