The EU is a strong supporter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) . The EU does not question the right of Iran, which ratified the NPT in 1970, to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. As for any NPT member, these rights are conditional on compliance with the obligations of Iran not developing nuclear weapons and not contributing to proliferation. This is why all nuclear activities must be conducted in a manner that is transparent to the international community, and therefore under the full control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The discovery in 2003 of nuclear activities undisclosed by the Iranian authorities to the IAEA casts serious doubts about the character of Iran’s nuclear programme as does the reluctance of Iran to cooperate proactively with the IAEA. According to the IAEA rules, these undisclosed activities should have been reported immediately to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
However, in October 2003, in the light of a general approach defined by the European Council, France, Germany and the United Kingdom launched a diplomatic effort aimed at resolving the issue through negotiations. They were joined in 2004 by the EU High Representative offering the support of the whole EU. In 2005, in June 2006, and again in May 2008, they presented far-reaching proposals to the Iranian authorities which would help Iran to develop a modern civil nuclear power programme, whilst meeting international concerns about its peaceful nature. The proposals offer Iran broad co-operation in the technological and economic field as well as in the political and security field.
The June 2006 proposal was offered by Germany, France, United Kingdom, China, Russia and the USA. If Iran would take up this offer, it could also benefit from far reaching cooperation with the EU, as repeatedly stated by the European Council.
Regrettably, and in spite of the EU’s best efforts, Iran has not been ready to heed the requests of the IAEA and to allow negotiations on a long term agreement that would provide the assurances that Iran's nuclear programme is entirely for peaceful purposes.
Consequently the UNSC had to react and adopted four subsequent resolutions (N° 1696, 1737, 1747 and 1803). Resolution N° 1803, voted in March 2008, as all the previous resolutions, requested Iran to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects, and to take steps to build confidence regarding the nature of its nuclear programme. The restrictive measures, set out in resolutions N° 1737, 1747 and 1803, are aimed at preventing mainly Iran’s acquisition of nuclear and ballistic missile material, equipment and technology which can be used for military programmes. However, in line with the policy of a dual-track approach, the June 2006 proposal - which has been renewed in May 2008 - is still offered to Iran.
The EU has repeatedly stated its full support for all efforts to find a negotiated solution on this basis.