Iran Nuclear NewsEurope urges more oversight of Iranian nuclear program

Europe urges more oversight of Iranian nuclear program

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ImageAP: The European Union has called on Iran to open its nuclear program to greater international scrutiny by joining a treaty that would let other nations review safety at its nearly finished nuclear plant.

The Associated Press

By GEORGE JAHN

ImageVIENNA, Austria (AP) — The European Union has called on Iran to open its nuclear program to greater international scrutiny by joining a treaty that would let other nations review safety at its nearly finished nuclear plant.

Slovenia, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said at a closed conference Monday that Iran should sign the Convention on Nuclear Safety, which lets member nations ask for information about safety programs at each others' facilities. A copy of the Slovenian delegate's remarks was provided to The Associated Press.

Thet treaty cannot force members to divulge information, but Iran's joining could open the possibility of a new window into its secretive program, which the U.S. and its allies call cover for nuclear weapons development.

The Russian-built reactor in question is not believed to have any military purpose, but Western nations are eager for any information about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Iran hopes to start up the reactor at the southern city of Bushehr this year.

Singling out Iran as "the only country building a nuclear power plant without being a contracting party to the Convention on Nuclear Safety," Slovene delegate Tomaz Nemec called in a speech for "Iran to accede to the convention."

Because it has not signed the treaty, Iran did not attend the meeting.

A diplomat who attended the conference, which ends April 25, said there had been no indication that Tehran was looking to join the convention. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the proceedings inside the two-week meeting.

Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is sponsoring the meeting, said he could not comment on any aspect of the topic because "I am not familiar with the contents of the speech."

The U.S. mission to the IAEA also declined to comment.

The United States and Russia have said a Russian agreement to supply nuclear fuel to Bushehr means Iran has no need to continue its own uranium enrichment program — a process that can provide fuel for a reactor or fissile material for a bomb.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needed to provide fuel to a separate reactor in the southwestern town of Darkhovin.

Talks in Shanghai, China among the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, Germany and the European Union on incentives aimed at persuading Iran to stop uranium enrichment ended Wednesday with no clear result, though the chair of the talks said diplomatic efforts would continue.

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