IAEA plans research reactor in Gulf region


Speaking to the Al Watan newspaper in an exclusive interview during a brief stopover here, he added the team would also discuss the priorities of GCC countries with regard to using nuclear technologies in the agricultural, industrial and medical fields and building national cadres and formulating the legal framework.

Baradei, reiterated the importance of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes since, he noted, hydrocarbon reserves of many Arab countries were depleting fast.

Baradei called upon the GCC and Arab countries to show the required seriousness in dealing with nuclear power by drawing up a peaceful nuclear programme that ‘fulfils aspirations of citizens in the region and enhances its economic and social interest.’

Baradei held lengthy talks with Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah on the Sultanate’s views on the possibilities of the region’s states in using nuclear power. Speaking about the Iranian President’s recent declaration regarding industrial scale enrichment of uranium by his country, the IAEA chief said he had no idea about this, but observed that the issue was how Iran could assure the international community through inspection by IAEA that its programme was dedicated to peaceful purposes.

The international community’ concern was not over Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, because many countries already did it, but over the possibility that Iran might use the enriched uranium for military purpose, he added.

In reply to a question on the world community’s indifference to the Israeli nuclear arsenal, Baradei said there was no such indifference, adding that ‘the international community is quite clear about that, as it stressed that a non-proliferation of nuclear weapons should be there.’

Pointing out that three countries — India, Pakistan and Israel — had not signed the NPT, he said the international community did not have the power to make the treaty mandatory, because it was optional.

The three countries had their reasons for not joining the treaty, he said, adding: “It should be noted that the international community is aware that Israel is a nuclear power, but the point is how can Israel become an integral part of the regional security system and join a nuclear arms-free Middle East.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki said his country was prepared to cooperate with the GCC states in the field of nuclear energy under IAEA supervision. He also reiterated the ‘peaceful nature’ of Iran’s nuclear programme at the Bushehr power station during an interview in Teheran with Oman’s Al Shabiba newspaper. He said security was a major component of regional cooperation which, he stressed, could be "achieved between the Sultanate and Iran, and Iran and the GCC states.” Motaki said Oman and Iran over time had played a great role in securing freedom of shipping and trade in the Straits of Hormuz. He underlined the deeply-rooted Omani-Iranian relations ‘established on mutual trust’ and the keenness of the two countries’ leaderships to ‘stabilise and develop these ties in serving the interests of two peoples.’

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