EU to press Iran on surprise nuclear inspections
BRUSSELS (AFP) Oct 17, 2003
EU leaders will tell Iran to agree rapidly to surprise UN inspections of its nuclear sites, the bloc's Italian presidency said Thursday as international pressure mounted on Tehran.

In draft conclusions to the two-day summit unveiled to journalists by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, the leaders "reiterated the need for the rapid ratification" by Iran of an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing unscheduled checks of suspect facilities.

The 15 EU leaders would also present their formal congratulatons to Iran's new Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi "for her commitment to democracy and the defence of human rights," he said.

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency has set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons as feared by its arch-enemies the United States and Israel.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, on a flying visit to Iran, said Thursday, that he had received assurances of Iran's "readiness" to open up its suspect facilities but said Tehran has still not agreed to stop enriching uranium.