"Bad news" if Iran does not allow snap nuclear inspections: EU
ATTENTION -Solana, Kharazi clash on Iranian diplomat arrest ///
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Saturday warned it would be "bad news" for Iran if it does not accept snap International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of its nuclear sites.
He also cautioned the Islamic republic against "bargaining" on the sensitive issue.
"If you don't sign the protocol it will be a bad news for you," Solana said during a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.
"There will be no reward for doing that -- it is not a bargaining thing," added the EU official who was also to meet President Mohammad Khatami.
The European Union has joined the wider international community in pressing Iran to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that would allow IAEA inspectors to descend on its nuclear sites without warning to ensure that Tehran is not secretly developing atomic weapons.
The European Union last month warned that, without credible guarantees over the protocol, it would review its economic ties with the country after an IAEA report on Iran is presented in Vienna on September 8.
"But we want it to be signed: the sooner, the better," said Solana. "It brings trust and confidence to the officials in Vienna and the members of the international community," he added.
Kharazi insisted Iran's goodwill was evident from its willingness to allow IAEA inspectors to visit and recently take samples from nuclear facilities, as well as its participation in talks over signing the protocol.
"We expect the European Union not to buckle under pressure and not let the (IAEA) governors politicize the affair," he said, alluding to US attempts to persuade the IAEA to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, which would carry the threat of sanctions.
Iran has come under increasing pressure, notably from the United States, to sign the additional protocol.
Concern over the issue resurfaced this week when a UN report said that inspectors had found two different types of highly-enriched nuclear particles at facilities in Iran not needed in civilian atomic programs.
But Solana and Kharazi clashed over EU-member Britain's arrest of a former Iranian ambassador to Argentina, remanded in custody on an extradition request from Buenos Aires which accuses him of taking part in a 1994 terror bombing.
Solana said it was a judicial matter, while Kharazi reiterated Iran's position that Hadi Soleimanpur's arrest on August 21 was a "political affair."
"I fully know the judicial and political powers in Britain and I know the separation between the judicial and the political powers," the EU official said.
Kharazi retorted that "from a judicial standpoint, this procedure has no value. We are sure that Hadi Soleimanpur is innocent and his innocence will be proved," he said.
Buenos Aires has charged Soleimanpur with involvement in planning and commissioning the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center that killed 85 and wounded 300 nine years ago.
However, Solana joined Iran in condemning Friday's bomb attack in Iraq's Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf that killed leading cleric Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, and at least 82 others.
"I was shocked upon hearing the news of assassination of religious leader Hakim and I hope that the people who did this will be prosecuted," he said.
"This shows that each country should stand along others to fight terrorism and we have forgotten how much the Muslims were the victims of terrorism."
Tehran backed Hakim during his 23-year exile in Iran before he returned to Iraq in May following the collapse of Saddam Hussein and has declared a three-day national mourning to honor the slain Shiite cleric. http://www.eubusiness.com/afp/030830122806.g8op56ox