UN nuclear monitors to visit Iran by end of January

Tehran talks to last three days; Iranian official: "We are open to discussing issues within IAEA mandate."

By REUTERS
January 17, 2012 17:21
1 minute read.
IAEA cameras in Iran uranium plant [file]

IAEA cameras in Iranian uranium enrichment facility 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

VIENNA - Senior United Nations nuclear officials will hold three days of talks in Tehran later this month, the Islamic state's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Reuters on Tuesday.

The visit, from January 29-31, is expected to seek explanations on mounting concerns that Iran may be trying to develop nuclear weapons capability.

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It coincides with intensifying Western pressure on Iran over a nuclear program that the United States and its allies suspect have military aims. Iran, a major oil producer, says its activities are aimed at generating electricity.

"We are open to discuss any issues that the IAEA is interested to discuss, within the framework of its mandate," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, said.

Referring to the row over Iran's nuclear program, Soltanieh said the discussions were aimed at "removing the ambiguities and concluding" the "seemingly endless process."

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Western diplomats, who have often accused Iran of stalling tactics as it presses ahead with its nuclear program, have expressed doubt that the planned IAEA trip will lead to major progress.

Soltanieh did not say which Iranian officials the IAEA delegation, to be headed by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, would meet in Tehran.


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