The European Union urged Iran on Monday to live up to "clear obligations" made to the international community to allow U.N. inspectors to see its nuclear facilities.
EU foreign ministers, meeting Monday ahead of a U.N. nuclear agency board of governors' gathering this week in Vienna, said they hoped for progress in talks with Iran despite Tehran's renewed threats to block nuclear inspections.
Iran's parliament on Sunday approved a bill requiring its government to block any in-depth U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities if Iran is referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, urged Tehran to abide by its commitments.
"The government of Iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty. It has got clear obligations," he said. "It was declared noncompliant with its obligations, because of its failure to meet various undertakings in the safeguards agreement."
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he hoped to avoid a showdown with Tehran. "We still have time to continue work."
The EU ministers were working on a common position before Thursday's meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters. Britain, France and Germany, who have been negotiating with Iran on behalf of the EU, were expected to brief fellow EU nations on talks they held Friday in London.
Iran resumed uranium reprocessing - which is one step before uranium enrichment - at its Isfahan facility in August. The U.S. and the Europeans want Iran to permanently halt uranium enrichment, a technology that would give Iran the capacity to produce materials for a nuclear bomb if it wanted.
Iran says the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allows it to pursue a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, the AP reportas.