Europeans Warn Iran on Nuclear Inspections
New York Times - By Nazila Fathi
Aug 31, 2003
TEHRAN, Aug. 30 Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, today pressed Iran to sign a protocol that would allow more aggressive inspections of its nuclear sites.
"We will have bad news for Iran if it refuses to sign the additional protocol," said Mr. Solana, who came to Iran to meet with officials here, during a news conference with the Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharazi.
"Let me say this openly: no one should expect a reward for signing it," he added. "The issue is not for bargaining; it is a matter of a friend advising another friend, and Iranian authorities are politically mature to hear a friend's advice."
Iran has come under mounting pressure to sign the protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
The United States has repeatedly accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. The European Union warned last month that it would review its economic ties with Iran if it refused to sign the protocol.
Iran took a step toward signing the protocol this week after a report disclosed that the International Atomic Energy Agency's inspectors had found traces of highly enriched uranium in environmental samples taken at the country's Natanz facility. Iran announced its willingness in a letter to the agency to begin negotiations on the issue.
Mr. Kharazi said today that Iran's good will was evident in its willingness to let the agency's inspectors take samples from its nuclear facilities and in its talks on the protocol.
Iran, which has always maintained that its nuclear power program is for peaceful purposes, has so far refused to sign the protocol, and demands technical cooperation in nuclear science from other signing nations in return. It also wants a guarantee that inspectors will not be given complete freedom to move inside the country to gain access to and expose military secrets.
In response to the report about enriched uranium, Iran said the equipment had been imported and had arrived with the traces of the substance.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will meet on Sept. 8 to review the protocol issue and could send the case to the United Nations Security Council if the agency concludes that Iran's nuclear activities pose a threat. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/31/international/middleeast/31TEHR.html