|Kuwait calls for increased cooperation between Iran, IAEA||
TEHRAN – Kuwait urged Iran on Monday to cooperate more with the United Nations nuclear watchdog to allay Persian Gulf Arab states’ concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power plant that lies just across the waterway from the emirate, according to Reuters.
The Kuwaiti emir, Sheik Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, said a recent shutdown at the plant indicated that Tehran had to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), based in Vienna, to ensure the safety of the facility, near the coastal town of Bushehr.
He was speaking in Bahrain at the annual meeting of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of six oil-exporting Persian Gulf Arab countries at odds with Tehran over a variety of issues.
The Bushehr plant, a symbol of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, was shut down in October for the removal of nuclear fuel as part of a normal procedure.
On November 21, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Fereydoun Abbasi said that the country’s nuclear facilities were operating well. He made the remarks in response to news reports claiming that the Arak heavy water reactor and the Bushehr nuclear power plant had faced technical problems.
On November 30, a spokesman for the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), which built the power plant, said the fuel discharge had been a planned removal for safety testing. He denied a Reuters report that the shutdown had been because of safety concerns after stray bolts had allegedly been found under fuel cells at the plant.
Sheik Sabah said, “The news that was reported recently about the technical failure that hit the Bushehr reactor confirms what we mentioned about the importance of Iranian cooperation with the IAEA, and committing to its criteria and rule, to ensure the safety of the region’s states and its people from any effect of radioactivity.”
The Bushehr plant was plugged into Iran’s national grid in September 2011. The plant’s Russian builder was quoted in October as saying Bushehr would be formally “handed over for use” to Iran in March 2013.
Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said in November that Tehran was determined to guarantee safety at Bushehr after the turnover.
Sheik Sabah also appealed to Iran to resolve separate longstanding disputes with members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman , and Kuwait.
“We renew our calls to our brothers in Iran to respond to our invitations to put an end to pending issues between the (P)GCC countries and Iran,” he said, either “through direct negotiations or by resorting to international arbitration.”
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