Kuwait urges Iran to address worries on nuclear plant
By Asma Alsharif
MANAMA (Reuters) - Kuwait urged neighboring Iran on Monday to cooperate more with the U.N. nuclear watchdog to allay Gulf Arab concerns about the safety of an Iranian nuclear power plant that lies just across the waterway from the emirate.
The emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, said a recent shutdown at the Bushehr plant indicated Tehran had to work with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy (IAEA) to ensure the safety of the facility near the coastal town of Bushehr.
He was speaking in Bahrain at the annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a grouping of six oil-exporting Gulf Arab countries at odds with Tehran over a series of issues and who see the Islamic Republic as a rival for regional influence.
Bushehr, a Russian-built symbol of what Iran calls its peaceful nuclear ambitions, was shut down in October to limit any damage after stray bolts were found beneath its fuel cells, a Russian nuclear industry source said in November.
The explanation for the procedure at the 1,000-megawatt plant contradicted assurances by Iran that nothing unexpected had happened and that removing nuclear fuel from the plant was part of a normal procedure.
Sheikh 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."
Iran is the only country with an operating nuclear power plant that is not part of the 75-nation Convention on Nuclear Safety, which was negotiated after the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Continued...