GCC countries repeat call for Iran to join international nuclear convention

A view of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant (file photo)

ABU DHABI // The UAE and other GCC countries have repeated their call for Iran to join international conventions and treaties on nuclear safety, after Iran’s nuclear chief said Tehran was ready to sign nuclear safety pacts with states in the region.

Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran was ready to create a regional safety convention for the supervision of power plant operations to ensure the monitoring and control of their activities.

Mr Salehi was reported as saying that Iran was also interested in exchanging data with its neighbours on radio-ecological issues, to reduce the damage of any incident in the future.

But Hamad Alkaabi, the UAE’s permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said GCC countries had repeatedly called on Iran to join an international convention on nuclear safety.

“Iran is the only country with significant nuclear activities that has not yet joined the convention on nuclear safety, which is an international convention,” he said. “The GCC countries, on a summit level, have repeatedly called on Iran to join the convention on nuclear safety.”

The convention’s aim is to legally commit participating states that are operating land-based nuclear power plants to maintaining a high level of safety by setting international benchmarks, to which these states must adhere.

The convention covers obligations such as siting, design, construction, operation, and the assessment and verification of safety, quality assurance and emergency preparedness. It also requires countries to submit reports to the IAEA on the implementation of their nuclear safety obligations. The UAE joined the convention in 2009 and has submitted many national reports. Parties to the convention have also recognised the UAE’s efforts and good practices in the field.

But Iran has not yet followed suit. Last year it was urged by non-nuclear states to allow the IAEA to conduct monthly inspections of its nuclear programme. Although Tehran signed an additional protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003, allowing the agency to perform monthly inspections, it has still not co-operated on this front more than a decade later.

By The National

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