Iran offers to ratify nuclear pact

Top negotiator conditionally offers to reopen facilitites to inspections.

Iran Nuclear 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Iran Nuclear 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's top nuclear negotiator conditionally offered to reopen the country's suspected nuclear facilities to snap international inspections, the Iranian Embassy in Paris said Friday. Ali Larijani made the offer in a French radio interview Thursday - the same day that France's foreign minister accused Iran of having a secret military nuclear program, the embassy said in a statement. It paraphrased Larijani as saying that the best way to guarantee that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful would be inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog and the use of centrifuges that would limit the degree to which Iran could enrich uranium. When highly enriched, uranium can be used to make nuclear bombs. "If such guarantees were accepted, Iran would accept to submit the additional protocol to parliament for ratification," said the embassy statement. The protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty gives UN nuclear inspectors the power to conduct inspections on short notice of suspect areas and programs. The Additional Protocol was signed by Iranian officials in 2003 as pressure intensified on Tehran to cooperate with IAEA inspectors probing more than 18 years of clandestine nuclear activities. Although the country has generally honored the pact, it was never formally ratified. The protocol gives the agency special inspecting powers that allow inspections on short notice of areas and programs that could be used for weapons activity. Iran earlier this month served notice that it would stop abiding by the agreement in response to a decision by the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency to report it to the UN Security Council because of suspicions its nuclear activities might serve as a cover for an arms program.