Tags: Congress | Issues | Bipartisan | Call | for | Nuclear | Inspections

Congress Issues Bipartisan Call for Nuclear Inspections in Iran

Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM

The movers, Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn., are joint chairmen of the House's Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation.

The resolution urges the U.S. government and the international community to immediately address Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.

"Iran seems to be violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty by building nuclear facilities that could lead to the development and production of nuclear weapons," said Markey.

"In our resolution, we call on the president, the United Nations, and other countries to urge Iran to accept an additional, safeguard-strengthening agreement that give the International Atomic Energy Agency far greater access to known and suspected sites in Iran.

"We need to end the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran before they get much further down that path."

Recent reports in the U.S. media have said Iran, with Russian assistance, is nearing completion of two light-water reactors near Bushehr. Iran is also digging uranium mines, constructing uranium enrichment facilities and spent-fuel reprocessing plants, the resolution said.

Such facilities, when combined with nuclear power plants, would allow Iran to control the nuclear fuel cycle, allowing it to make nuclear weapons in a few years, the resolution says.

It says that Iran's President Muhammad Khatami has publicly acknowledged his nation's pursuit of the components needed for construction of a nuclear bomb.

Iran, the resolution says, has resisted mounting international pressure for it to sign an agreement that would allow inspections anytime, anywhere of all known and suspected nuclear facilities.

The movers say that the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, performed a limited inspection of several Iranian nuclear sites in February 2003. The IAEA said it was surprised by the progress made by the Iranians. The movers quote the IAEA chief as saying Iran was now one of only 10 countries capable of building uranium-enriching gas centrifuges.

The resolution refers to the meeting of the Group of Eight nations in Switzerland earlier this week at which they said they "will not ignore the proliferation implications of Iran's advanced nuclear program."

G8 leaders, the resolution notes, have demanded "Iran's full compliance with its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty," and offered their "strongest support to a comprehensive IAEA examination of (Iran's) nuclear program."

Markey dismissed Iran's statements it would allow full inspections if U.S. sanctions against its nuclear programs were lifted.

"Only when the U.S. is convinced that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, and Iran has been removed from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, should we even consider lifting sanctions," he said.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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The movers, Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn., are joint chairmen of the House's Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation. The resolution urges the U.S. government and the international community to immediately address Iran's suspected nuclear...
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2003-00-04
Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM
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