Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weapons expert Blix backs launch of nuclear fuel supplies to Iran


The FINANCIAL -- According to RIA Novosti, top weapons inspector Hans Blix hailed on December 18 the start of Russian nuclear fuel supplies to Iran as a positive step in resolving the dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Moscow started delivering nuclear fuel to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which Russian contractor Atomstroyexport is building in southern Iran, on December 16.

Blix said in an international video conference hosted by RIA Novosti: "if Russia had refused to deliver its fuel to Bushehr, Iran would have used this as an argument to justify its own program to enrich uranium."

Although Iran has consistently claimed it needs uranium enrichment for electricity generation, the UN Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its refusal to halt enrichment.

"I don't see any obstacle in United Nations Security Council resolutions to Russian fuel shipments to Bushehr," said Blix.

The Swedish diplomat, 79, chairs the Swiss-funded Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, and is well-known for leading a team of weapons inspectors in Iraq in 2002, which found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Blix called for more steps to improve dialogue with Iran, possibly including support for the country's membership in the World Trade Organization, and a resumption of diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran.

"It does not make sense to wave sticks at Iran, we have to look for carrots in dealing with Iran."

The news conference was devoted to a declaration summing up the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, held in Luxembourg on May 24 and 25, where scientists and experts formulated proposals and recommendations for dealing with nuclear security issues on the regional and global levels.

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