Pressure on Iran to open doors to snap inspections

A US-backed resolution on Wednesday, demanding Iran disclose the purpose of its nuclear programme, is likely to win broad support of the governors of the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

For the resolution to have teeth, 35 governors must approve it.

Japan, Britain, France and Germany have backed the resolution which calls on Tehran to end its evasive strategy and fully comply with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) insists Iran “suspend all further uranium enrichment activities.”

Iran is suspected of purifying uranium for use in nuclear weapons, according to the IAEA, after an investigation found traces of weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium at an enrichment facility at Natanz.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for domestic electricity use only. The traces of enriched uranium were derived from “contaminated” equipment bought from a previous owner, Iran insists, a claim strongly disputed by the IAEA.

Pre-war Iraq, Iran and North Korea inhabit President Bush’s “axis of evil.”

The draft resolution calls on Iran “to promptly and unconditionally sign, ratify and fully implement” the NPT Additional Protocol which grants the IAEA the right to carry out snap inspections in Iran.

Separately, Israel has suggested it may use military force to end the nightmare of a nuclear-armed Iran. Israel forecasts that Iran is two to three years away from nuclear capability.

“Any Iranian regime knows of course that Israel has the capability, the wherewithal, to deal with a military threat,” said Zalman Shoval, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“Hopefully, a military threat can be avoided, nipped in the bud.