Iran seeks European trio's backing over its nuclear stance
TEHRAN (AFP) Apr 10, 2004
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi discussed Iran's nuclear case with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, seeking their support ahead of a June meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors, Iranian dailies reported Saturday.

"Iranian public opinion expects that Iran's peaceful nuclear case be settled by June and the IAEA and the European Union fulfill their commitments towards Iran," Kharazi said in a phone conversation with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer.

In his talk to his French counterpart Michel Barnier, Kharazi said the visit by IAEA director general Mohamed Elbaradai to Tehran earlier this week "provided the appropriate opportunity to draw a timetable for normalizing Iran's nuclear case before the next meeting of the IAEA board of governors."

Kharazi told British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw: "A timetable has been prepared to discuss and settle the nuclear issue between Tehran and the IAEA and the two sides have agreed on it."

Last October, Iran gave the IAEA what it said was a complete declaration of its nuclear activities.

It was later found to have made a number of omissions, including its acquisition of designs for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges that can produce weapons-grade uranium, way above the normal level of enrichment required for atomic reactors.

The three European countries in October struck a deal with Iran for it to cooperate with the IAEA. The United States however claims Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons and is seeking a tougher stance with Tehran.

In March, the IAEA board of governors passed a resolution that condemned Iran for failing to report crucial technologies, such as the advanced P-2 centrifuge designs.

ElBaradei returned to Vienna last Wednesday from Tehran, where he had hammered out an agreement for Iran to adhere to a timetable to answer the agency's questions about its nuclear activities.