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UK says Iran must take steps to ease nuke fears

Britain's Foreign Minister David Miliband looks on ahead of an European Union Foreign Ministers meeting on Iran in Corfu June 28, 2009. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran must take “concrete steps” to demonstrate in upcoming talks its nuclear aims are peaceful, Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Sunday.

“The Iranian issue is now a clear one that needs to be addressed,” Miliband told Sky TV.

“It’s time for concrete steps from Iran to show that they have only peaceful intentions for their nuclear uranium enrichment program. It is a very important time.”

Miliband was echoing comments from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said Friday Iran had to use discussions next month to ease fears over its nuclear program or risk greater isolation and economic pressure.

Tehran says its uranium enrichment program is geared toward energy production but some global powers fear it is a cover for developing nuclear weapons.

Clinton has said talks scheduled for October 1 between Iran and the so-called “P5+1,” which includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- and Germany, must address the issue.

However, Iran has repeatedly said that it will not use the discussions to bargain over its nuclear capabilities.

Miliband said he would be chairing a meeting in New York this week of the foreign ministers of the other six nations ahead of the October discussions.

“It’s time for concrete steps by Iran to show that they are willing to live within rules on non-proliferation treaty which have been so important in limiting nuclear proliferation over the last 40 years,” he said.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sophie Hares