UN nuclear agency says Iran visit possible

IAEA spokesman says agency is working on a potential visit following Iranian invitation for talks; senior Iranian official says Tehran prepared to discuss int'l concerns, remove "ambiguities" about nuclear program.

By REUTERS
December 21, 2011 11:49
1 minute read.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

VIENNA - The UN nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it may visit Iran for talks, a day after a senior Iranian official said Tehran was prepared to discuss international concerns and remove "ambiguities" about its disputed nuclear program.

"We're working on a possible visit," Gill Tudor, spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in an e-mail response to a question. She gave no further details.

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Western powers suspect Iran's nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, fears that were reinforced by an IAEA report last month. Iran says its nuclear work is aimed at generating electricity, rejecting accusations of weapons aims.

Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based UN agency on Tuesday told Reuters Tehran had renewed its invitation for a senior IAEA team to travel to the Islamic Republic, which was first issued in October.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh said the purpose would be "to work to remove any ambiguities with the aim of resolving the issues and to conclude and stop this endless process".

Western diplomats tend to see such invitations as attempts by Iran, a major oil producer, to buy time and ease international pressure without heeding UN demands to curb nuclear work which could be used for making atomic bombs.

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