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EU Calls on Iran to Fully Cooperate IAEA for Nuclear Inspections - 2003-06-16

The European Union has expressed concern over Tehran's nuclear activities, and urged it to allow more comprehensive inspections of its nuclear facilities. In a statement, the ministers said serious concern remains over Iran's nuclear activities, and Tehran should cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The ministers also called for Iran to implement an additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that would allow inspections of suspected sites. Diplomats say the European Union wants Iran to accept more intrusive and short-notice inspections of its nuclear program.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country holds the EU presidency, says the message to Iran is plain.

"The best way to clear this up is to have full transparency as soon as possible," said Mr. Papandreou. "That would be the best way to allay suspicions and restore confidence. And I think this is a message, which should be heeded."

In their statement, the foreign ministers linked Iran's cooperation on nuclear issues with increasing ties between Iran and the European Union, which is currently negotiating a trade and cooperation pact with Iran.

Meanwhile, EU officials deny that they have said they would support America, if it decides to use force against Iran. But a separate EU statement on a strategy against weapons of mass destruction said that when diplomatic pressure has failed, the use of force under the U.N. charter could be envisioned. Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, stressed that military action is only a last resort.

The United States accuses Iran of developing weapons of mass destruction. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, and says it will accept stricter inspections if it receives Western help to develop peaceful atomic energy.