CBSN

Europe Urges Iran To Stop Nukes

Iran nuclear nukes uranium
CBS/AP
European negotiators urged Iran's president-elect Monday to maintain a suspension of uranium enrichment activities, a day after he vowed to restart the nation's controversial nuclear program.

Two inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, meanwhile, arrived in Iran for talks that were expected to include reports that Iran worked secretly with plutonium, a possible component of nuclear bombs.

Hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected by a landslide Friday, said the 20-year-old nuclear program was needed for peaceful purposes. The United States believes Tehran is seeking to develop atomic bombs.

"We need the peaceful nuclear technology for energy, medical and agricultural purposes and our scientific progress. We will continue this," Ahmadinejad said Sunday at a news conference.

Iran suspended all uranium enrichment-related activities in November to avoid possible sanctions from the U.N. Security Council, but it said all along the suspension was temporary.

France, Britain and Germany, which are negotiating on behalf of the European Union, have offered economic incentives in hopes of persuading Iran to permanently halt enrichment. Uranium enriched to low levels has energy uses, while highly enriched uranium can be used in bombs.

Though they have differences on Iraq, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President Bush agreed during a White House meeting that they must deliver a focused and unified message to the hardliner elected as Iran's new president, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.