Kuwait urges Iran to address worries on nuclear plant

Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:00pm EST
 
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Although the West suspects the Islamic Republic of trying to develop the means to build nuclear arms - a charge it denies - Bushehr is not considered a major proliferation risk by Western states, whose fears are focused on sites where Iran has defied global pressure by enriching uranium beyond levels needed to fuel civilian atomic power plants.

Nevertheless Western officials voiced concern in November about what they described as an unexpected unloading of fuel at Bushehr and said Tehran, which has dismissed it as a normal step, must clarify the issue.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA said in November that Tehran was determined to make sure safety at Bushehr was guaranteed after the plant is turned over to Iranian operators.

The plant, whose start-up has been delayed for years, was finally plugged into Iran's national grid in September 2011, a move intended to end protracted delays in its construction. The plant's Russian builder was quoted in October as saying Bushehr would be formally "handed over for use" to Iran in March 2013.

Sheikh Sabah also appealed to Iran to resolve separate long-standing disputes with GCC members, who comprise 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 GCC countries and Iran ... through direct negotiations or by resorting to international arbitration," he said.

Bahrain has repeatedly accused Tehran of meddling in its internal politics. Saudi Arabia has complained about alleged border breaches by Iran, and the UAE has a long-standing dispute with the Shi'ite Muslim power over three Gulf islands. Iran denies seeking subvert Bahrain or any other Gulf Arab state, and says its intentions in the region are purely peaceful.

(Reporting by Asma Alsharif, Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah waves as he enters the National Assembly to open the first session of the 12th National Assembly in Kuwait City June 1,2008. REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee