AP: In a veiled reference to Russia, the United States on Monday urged governments to end nuclear projects with Iran in light of a recent finding that Tehran is not complying with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
By NICK WADHAMS
Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS – In a veiled reference to Russia, the United States on Monday urged governments to end nuclear projects with Iran in light of a recent finding that Tehran is not complying with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Stephen G. Rademaker, assistant secretary of state for arms control, told a U.N. committee that nations must adjust national policies as a result of an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution last month that found Iran in noncompliance because of its past covert activities.
“We think it’s self-evident, for example, that in the face of such a finding, no government should permit new nuclear transfers to Iran and all ongoing nuclear projects should be frozen,” Rademaker said.
He did not mention Russia by name, but Moscow has an $800 million contract to build a nuclear reactor in the city of Bushehr. That program has raised U.S. concerns that the reactor could help Tehran develop nuclear weapons.
However, U.S. officials had accepted for now Russian assurances that no enrichment or reprocessing will take place, and that any spent fuel rods will be returned to Russia.
Russia has also trained about 700 Iranian nuclear engineers, and several dozen Iranian experts are in training at a nuclear power plant in southwestern Russia.
Asked later if he would urge Russia directly to end its cooperation with Iran, Rademaker said “I think the statement I gave today speaks for itself.”
Iran insists its nuclear program is for energy purposes, while the United States suspects Iran is trying to build atomic bombs.
Last week’s IAEA board resolution put off a decision on whether to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. The board hopes that will give Tehran time to meet its demands, which included a call on Iran to end uranium conversion – a precursor of enrichment – and commit to freezing all enrichment plans.
Russia abstained at the IAEA board’s vote and has said it opposes imposing sanctions on Iran. Earlier Monday, it urged Iran not to suspend cooperation on inspections by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.