Iran confirms inviting world powers to visit nuclear sites

Teheran invites EU, non-aligned movement and representatives from 5+1 countries in a gesture of "good will" regarding nuclear program; US says move is "a clever ploy," but not a substitute for responsibilities to IAEA.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 4, 2011 12:08
2 minute read.
THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran will so

THE BUSHEHR nuclear plant in southern Iran 311. (photo credit: AP)

TEHERAN, Iran — Iran on Tuesday confirmed it has invited representatives of world powers and its allies among the Arab and developing world to tour its nuclear sites.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the invitation went to "the EU, the non-aligned movement and representatives from 5+1 countries."

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The "5+1" countries are the six world powers engaged in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program — the United States, Britain, France, Russia , China and Germany.

He said the invitation to visit is an indication of his country's "good will" regarding its nuclear program.

Mehmanparast said the tour is to take place before Iran meets with the six in Turkey in late January.

US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Monday said Iran's invitation is "a clever ploy, but it's not a substitute for Iran's responsibilities to the IAEA," The New York Times reported.


“It won’t draw international attention away from the issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program,” Crowley stated.

He added that Iran's nuclear enrichment activities violated six United Nations Security Council resolutions.

China on Tuesday confirmed it had received the invitation to tour Iran's nuclear sites but did not immediately say if it would send anyone.

European diplomats who were invited said they were unlikely to accept the invitation, if at all, until after the next round of talks on Iran's nuclear program.


While no reason was given for the timing of the offer, it comes just weeks before Iran and the six powers follow up on recent talks that ended with agreement on little else but to meet again.

The offer of a visit comes more than three years after six diplomats from developing nations accredited to the IAEA visited Iran's uranium ore conversion site at Isfahan, which turns raw uranium into the feedstock gas that is then enriched. Participants then told reporters they could not make an assessment of Iran's nuclear aims based on that visit to that facility in central Iran.

But the new offer appeared more wide ranging, both as far as nations or groups invited and sites to be visited.

Dated Dec. 27, the four paragraph letter obtained Monday by the AP offered no details beyond offering an all-expenses paid "visit to Iran's nuclear sites."

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