IAEA chief says Iran `key priority` for 2012

Last Updated: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 23:14

Vienna: The head of the UN atomic agency Yukiya Amano said Iran`s nuclear programme will be his main focus this year, according to remarks released today ahead of an IAEA visit to Tehran in late January.

"My key priority in 2012 will be to try to make progress
towards restoring international confidence in the peaceful
nature of Iran`s nuclear programme," Amano told an
International Atomic Energy Agency new year`s reception on
Thursday.

"This is the most important of the major safeguards
issues on our agenda. A senior team from the Agency, led by
Deputy Director General for Safeguards Herman Nackaerts, will
visit Iran towards the end of this month.

"I am fully committed to working constructively with Iran
and I trust that Iran will approach our forthcoming
discussions in an equally constructive spirit."

Iran`s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, was
quoted by the Fars news agency on Tuesday as saying that the
visit by Nackaerts would last from January 29-31.

Nackaerts, who is Belgian, will be accompanied by the
agency`s number two, Rafael Grossi, an Argentine, as well as
the Vienna-based agency`s senior legal official Peri Lynne
Johnson, a US citizen, according to diplomats.

In November an IAEA report, rejected as "baseless" by
Iran, said the agency was able to build an overall impression
that Tehran "carried out activities relevant to the
development of a nuclear explosive device."

Since the report, Western countries have sought to
increase pressure on Iran, with Washington and Brussels taking
aim at Iran`s oil industry and central bank, while pressing
Japan, China and others to join them.

Iran denies seeking atomic weapons, saying its programme
is peaceful, but Western countries strongly suspect otherwise
and the UN Security Council has slapped four rounds of
sanctions on the Islamic republic.

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 23:14

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