Middle East News
Iran still refuses to sign nuclear safety convention
Jun 21, 2011, 12:19 GMT
Vienna - Iran will only join a key treaty on nuclear safety if the stand-off over its contentious nuclear programme is solved, the country's top nuclear official signalled Tuesday.
Iran is currently the only country with a significant nuclear programme that has not signed the Convention on Nuclear Safety, a treaty that has come back into focus amid the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
'We have started the process of ratification, and in the near future, being sure about our inalienable rights, we will fulfill our obligations,' said Fereydoun Abbasi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.
He was speaking at an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in Vienna on learning lessons from Fukushima.
Iranian officials frequently stress countries' right to use civilian nuclear technology as a reference to UN sanctions aimed at getting Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.
While Western countries say they need to be confident that Iran does not plan to use the uranium to make nuclear weapons, the Islamic state insists the sanctions are unfair because it has no such plans.
The Safety Convention was adopted in 1994 and obliges countries to have their nuclear safety programmes reviewed by other countries every few years.
Iran is currently working to bring its first power reactor on line in Bushehr.
IAEA-appointed experts reviewed Iran's nuclear safety regulations last year and asked the country to adopt a comprehensive set of regulations, improve staffing with safety experts and sign the convention.