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Iran Will Sign Key UN Nuclear Protocol - 2003-11-10

A senior Iranian official says Tehran is suspending its uranium enrichment program enrichment and accepting closer international inspection of its nuclear facilities. Iran National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, made the announcement before top-level talks in Moscow.

In what he termed an official announcement, Hasan Rowhani pledged that Iran will sign a protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that allows for more stringent inspections of its nuclear sites. He said Tehran is also temporarily suspending its uranium-enrichment process.

The Iranian official is in Moscow for talks on restarting Russian construction of a controversial nuclear power plant that was suspended earlier this year.

Iran had said before it would comply with international demands about its nuclear program, but, until now, left the time frame vague.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was satisfied with Iran's action, adding that he saw no reason why Russia should not continue with its program of nuclear cooperation with Tehran.

Russia has delayed the launch of the $800 million power plant at Bushehr earlier this year, demanding that spent nuclear fuel from the plant must be returned to Russia for disposal. The power plant is not expected to begin operating until at least 2005.

The Iranian official said Russia is prepared not only to resume the project, but to discuss the construction of another reactor at Bushehr.

Speaking to a Russian television network, Mr. Rowhani insisted that Iran has only peaceful intentions, despite suspicions in the international community.

He says, Iran is stopping the uranium enrichment process immediately. He also says Iran is not producing nuclear weapons and the use of such weapons is not part of the government's military doctrine.

The United States has long accused Iran of maintaining a clandestine nuclear-weapons program. Doubts about Iran's nuclear ambitions increased after traces of weapons-grade uranium were found on centrifuges at two Iranian facilities.