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Iran to take decision after experts' visit

TEHRAN, July 30: Iran will decide whether or not to accept snap inspections of its nuclear sites after an upcoming visit by legal experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said.

Mr Kharazi, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, said on Tuesday that Iran, which is under increasing international pressure to act, was expecting the arrival of the experts it has invited in the next few days.

"After these people come to Iran and we listen to their reasons and justifications, then we will decide whether to sign the IAEA's additional protocol," he said.

The international community, suspicious that Tehran has a secret weapons programme, is pressing it to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing the IAEA to carry out thorough inspections of the country's installations without prior declaration.

On July 28, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said: "A first IAEA team of judicial experts will go in the first week of August on a 48-hour mission to explain how the protocol will work if Tehran signs."

A second team will carry out routine inspections ahead of a report on Iran's nuclear facilities by the IAEA due to be released on Sept 8, she added.

Earlier this month, European Union foreign ministers expressed their increasing concern over Iran's nuclear programme and demanded Iran's unconditional acceptance of the additional NPT protocol.

The EU, which is negotiating a key trade pact with Iran, said it would review its cooperation with Tehran when the report is published. Iran denies the allegations that it is covertly developing nuclear weapons. -AFP
15 posted on 07/31/2003 2:51:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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France presses Iran to sign protocol on enhanced inspections

PARIS: France on Thursday called on Iran to make a "strong gesture" to assuage international concern about the goal of its nuclear program by signing a protocol that allows for more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous said that Iran should "sign and put into practice without delay or conditions" an additional protocol to a safeguards agreement.

The United States suspects that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb - an allegation Iran denies. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is designed to produce energy.

U.S. President George W. Bush said at a news conference Wednesday that the European Union needs to join the United States and send a "very clear message" to Iran on the subject. The French statement followed a day later.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has said that Iran has failed to meet its obligations in reporting on nuclear material and its processing and use. The agency asked that Iran sign an additional protocol to the safeguards agreement to allow for enhanced inspections "to provide credible assurances regarding the peaceful nature" of the country's nuclear program.

Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which the IAEA is entrusted with verifying.

However, Tehran has placed conditions on the signing of such a protocol.

The French Foreign Ministry asked that the protocol be signed "without delay or conditions which would be a first significant step in response to our concerns," Ladsous, the spokesman, told reporters.

Such a "bold gesture (would) contribute in restoring confidence on the goal of the nuclear program," he said.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said last week that "it is necessary for Iran to make a significant move now."

He spoke after EU foreign ministers urged Iran to accept enhanced inspections.

16 posted on 07/31/2003 2:51:54 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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