“If you are interested, please send a delegation to Iran to inspect the sites … so that your minds are calmed,” Mohsen Mirdamadi, the chair of Iran’s parliamentary security and foreign policy committee told MEPs. He said: “I can assure you, we will not use nuclear energy for harmful reasons,” adding “we do know that we have to create an assurance that nothing we do is wrong.” The EU said that Iran must implement additional safeguards. Foreign ministers, meeting in a General Affairs Council, linked cooperation on resolving suspicions about an Iranian nuclear weapons programme to further progress on a bilateral EU-Iran trade agreement. The ministers said progress on the two issues represented “interdependent, essential and mutually reinforcing elements of EU-Iran relations.” IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that Iran failed to report “certain nuclear materials and activities” in its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. He indicated that clarification of certain activities remained incomplete despite extensive verification work since the IAEA’s visit to Iran’s nuclear facilities in February. However, Iran is taking corrective actions in relation to the undeclared activities and materials, he said. The IAEA said that Iran should “promptly and unconditionally conclude and implement an additional protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, in order to enhance the Agency’s ability to provide credible assurances regarding the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities”. The IAEA is scheduled to hear a report in September based on further inspections of the Iranian nuclear programme.

Iran has said that it is willing to more intrusive inspections by UN nuclear monitors if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) puts forward clear demands. “Iran is in favour of signing an additional IAEA protocol, but we want clarification,” said the head of Iran’s atomic energy body, Gholam-Reza Aghazadeh. “We want the IAEA demands to be specific, and put into documentation. That is why we need to conduct more negotiations with both the UN general secretary and the general council of the IAEA.” Iran said that it is ready to allow closer UN inspections if other countries would assist it in developing a broader nuclear power programme. This condition has been rejected by the USA.

· Russia to train Bushehr operators The first deputy managing director of Atomstroyexport, Igor Prikhidko, said that over 700 Iranians will be trained in Russia to operate the Bushehr plant. He said that over half of the Iranian trainees, who have already undergone the necessary training, are ready to leave to assist in installation of Bushehr 1.

In addition, an agreement will soon be signed committing Iran to the return of spent fuel to Russia. President Putin of Russia has told the USA that Russia would not provide fuel for Bushehr until Russian officials were certain that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons.

· Japan links oil deal to transparency Japan has linked a $2 billion oil deal with Iran to greater transparency from Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons programme. A Japanese government spokesman said Tokyo will watch how Iran clears up growing suspicions about its nuclear ambitions before it approves a huge deal to develop the Azadegan oil field. Chief cabinet secretary Yasuo Fukuda said he did not think the crude oil plan, currently being negotiated by a consortium of Tomen Corporation, Inpex Corporation and Japan Petroleum Exploration, will move ahead unless international fears are resolved.

· Israel will destroy Natanz Senior officials from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have said that if Iran completes gas centrifuge facilities at Natanz and begins enriching uranium there, Israel will conduct a military operation to destroy it, regardless of what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may report regarding the facility.

Some observers have voiced concern that an Israeli attack on Natanz might not succeed, since the Iranian plants are in a bunkered facility and partially underground. Iran’s centrifuges are small and both the industrial template and technical skills for building them are likely to be highly protected against attack. They also point out that an Israeli attack on Natanz would play into the hands of Iranian leaders who favour speedy clandestine development of nuclear weapons.