Madrid, 4 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (pictured) today called on Iran to agree to tougher inspections of its nuclear installations to soothe concerns over its alleged nuclear program. Ivanov, speaking after a meeting with his NATO counterparts in Madrid, called on the Islamic republic to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Iran has said it is ready to sign if the "sanctions and pressure" on Iran are lifted.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on Iran to allow it to inspect suspected sites in the country as a confidence-building measure.
The United States accuses Iran of developing its atomic energy program as a cover for illicit development of nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusation.
In Washington, an RFE/RL correspondent reports that the World Bank announced the approval of a $180 million loan to help Iran recover from two earthquakes last year.
The bank says the money will support Iranian government efforts to reduce human suffering and economic losses, and rebuild communities following the devastating impact of the earthquakes that struck the province of Kermanshah in April 2002 and the provinces of Qazvin, Hamedan, and Zanjan in June 2002.