Iran invites IAEA team to Teheran

Islamic Republic calls IAEA delegation to clear up suspicions about its nuclear program.

Iran has invited an International Atomic Energy Agency team to Teheran to draw up a concrete plan for clearing up suspicions about its nuclear program, an IAEA spokeswoman said Monday. Melissa Fleming said the invitation was issued by Ali Larijani, Teheran's chief nuclear negotiator, on Sunday in talks with IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei. "Dr. Larijani invited the IAEA to send a team to Teheran to develop an action plan for resolving outstanding issues related to Iran's past nuclear program," Fleming said in a statement. "The IAEA intends to send a team as early as practicable." The talks Sunday were apparently agreed on short notice and came just a day after Larijani met with top EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana for talks believed to have focused on Teheran's recent offer to deal with outstanding questions about its nuclear activities. Larijani and ElBaradei had already met Friday and the IAEA chief said afterward that the Islamic republic was ready to follow up on that offer by working out a concrete timetable with his agency's experts on coming up with the answers sought by the UN nuclear agency. Iran has said before that it was ready to cooperate with the IAEA on the issue of unexplained past activities that could be linked to a nuclear weapons program but has yet to deliver. A diplomat familiar with Iran's nuclear file, who demanded anonymity for discussing the confidential issue, told The Associated Press that the invitation to the IAEA to send a team was grounds for optimism that this time the Iranians would follow through.