Iran gives go-ahead to sign protocol on tougher UN nuke inspections
TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 10, 2003
The Iranian government announced Wednesday it had given the formal go-ahead for its representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to sign an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing tougher nuclear inspections by the UN watchdog.

"Last week the government gave its authorisation to the foreign ministry for the representative of Iran at the IAEA to sign the additional protocol," government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh told reporters.

Iran has been under international pressure to sign the text, amid accusations that the Islamic republic is using a civil atomic energy programme as a cover for secret nuclear weapons development.

The additional protocol gives the IAEA the power to carry out surprise inspections of suspect nuclear sites. Under the original NPT, the IAEA has only been authorised to carry out pre-arranged site inspections.