EU to condemn Iran for not heeding UN nuclear resolution


A draft of an EU statement to be delivered on Thursday says that the EU "reaffirms its continuous support for efforts to find a negotiated long-term solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," according to a copy of the text shown to AFP.

The EU says "a comprehensive offer is still on the table and the door remains open," referring to a deal of trade, security and technology benefits for Iran if it guarantees it will not seek nuclear weapons.

But the EU says it "deplores that Iran has not complied with the terms of UNSC (UN Security Council) resolution 1737," which calls on Iran to halt uranium enrichment work and to stop building a reactor that could produce plutonium.

Plutonium and enriched uranium can be nuclear reactor fuel but also atom bomb material. Iran claims it only wants to use nuclear power to generate electricity and not for weapons work.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation board of governors is to discuss both the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programmes on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the IAEA circulated to the board Tuesday a letter Oman had sent last month to IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei on behalf of the Arab League expressing "deep concern and great disquiet" over Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s comments in December that seemed to confirm that Israel has the bomb.

In a German television interview Olmert said: "Iran openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as France, America, Russia and Israel?"

Israel is believed to have some 200 atom bombs but has a policy of neither confirming nor denying this.

Oman’s letter said "Arab States consider Israel’s possession of military nuclear capabilities to be a clear violation of the will of the international community."

gyptian ambassador to the IAEA Ramzy Ezzeldin said the purpose of the letter was "to put the whole thing on record, that a statement was made and to remind that this is a serious issue that will not go away."

The matter is to be discussed Thursday at the board, with some non-aligned states wanting to see IAEA technical aid to Israel cut, much as aid to Iran is being slashed, diplomats said.

Israel is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and so is not subject to IAEA safeguards inspections.

Iran is, and Arab states complain that it is unfair to scrutinize Tehran for allegedly developing nuclear weapons when Israel has them and is not under IAEA monitoring.

On Monday, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told the IAEA’s governing board that the agency was still unable to verify that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, as the United States claims it is.

ElBaradei said it was "long overdue" for Iran to "answer all the agency’s questions and concerns about its past nuclear activities in an open and transparent manner."

The IAEA’s 35-nation board of governors will discuss a report from ElBaradei documenting Iran’s failure to heed the Security Council call to suspend uranium enrichment and cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors, diplomats said.

The IAEA is then expected to approve a nearly 50 percent cut in its technical aid to Iran as part of Security Council sanctions imposed December 23 on the Islamic Republic.

ElBaradei will also report to the board on his planned trip next week to North Korea to discuss the return of IAEA inspectors to the communist country in the wake of Pyongyang’s agreeing to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday that Iran is prepared to hold negotiations as long as Washington set no preconditions.

But US officials insist that Iran halt nuclear fuel work before talks can start.

Diplomats from the United States and Iran are expected to attend a conference on Iraq’s security in Baghdad on March 10, but Tehran has said there will be no bilateral contacts at the event.

On Monday in New York envoys from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany met to consider a new draft resolution that would tighten the sanctions already adopted by the council.


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