Western diplomatic sources said Qatar has been planning a nuclear research and energy program with foreign assistance. They said Asian and Western countries have been approached.
"It makes no sense for Qatar to have a nuclear energy program," a diplomatic source said. "It makes all the sense in the world for Qatar to start acquiring nuclear expertise."
On Monday, Qatar and South Korea began talks on nuclear energy cooperation. The South Korean Science and Technology Ministry met representatives of Qatar's Supreme Council for the Environmental and Natural Reserves.
The Qatari delegation was scheduled to spend nearly a week in Seoul. The delegation planned to tour South Korean nuclear facilities and discuss nuclear applications in agriculture, medicine and biotechnology.
The diplomatic sources said Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council states have sought to develop nuclear programs to desalinate water. They said Iran's nuclear weapons program has alarmed GCC states, particularly Saudi Arabia, the largest country in the region and biggest energy producer in the world.