IAEA Team Heads To Iran To Seek Nuclear Answers
January 28, 2012
Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear agency have departed for Iran for talks aimed at discussing international concerns that Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapon.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Herman Nackaerts, speaking before he left Vienna, said that dialogue with Iran is "long overdue."
"We are trying to follow the [IAEA] board's resolution and trying to resolve all the outstanding issues with Iran," he said. "In particular, we hope that Iran will engage with us on our concerns regarding the possible military dimension of Iran's nuclear program. So we are looking forward to start with a dialogue, a dialogue that is overdue since very long."
Nackaerts declined to comment on whom he would meet during the trip.
Iran has said it will cooperate with the IAEA team during the three-day visit but indicated it would not give up uranium enrichment.
The delegation is not expected to be given access to any sites mentioned in a critical IAEA report in November that raised suspicions that Iran had done work on developing nuclear weapons.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano repeated those suspicions in remarks on January 27 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said that the nuclear watchdog agency has "information that indicates that Iran has engaged in activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."
Still, the IAEA inspectors hope their current trip could at least pave the way for the resumption of talks between Iran and world powers.
The last round of talks, in January 2011, ended without a breakthrough.
The United States and its allies suspect the program has military aims, but Tehran says it is for peaceful electricity generation.
Compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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