‘Iran invites UN nuclear inspectors’

Iran has invited the UN atomic watchdog for a visit, but it is unclear whether inspectors would have access to sites.

Last Updated: Dec 20, 2011, 23:33 PM IST

Vienna: Iran has invited the UN atomic watchdog for a visit, but it is unclear whether inspectors would have access to sites where covert nuclear weapons
activity is suspected, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.

"Our understanding from our conversations with the IAEA is that... Iran has made a sort of general invitation, but there is nothing specific in there," one diplomat to the Vienna-based agency said on condition of anonymity.

"We don`t know how the agency is going to reply yet. To
us it seems in keeping with Iran trying to mollify the IAEA
without really offering anything substantive."

A second diplomat said it was unclear whether the
Iranian letter dated December 14 addressed any of the issues
raised in November`s hard-hitting report from the
International Atomic Energy Agency.

"I doubt the letter contains any offer of engagement" on
such issues, the diplomat said. "I am very sceptical on
that."

The IAEA published a report on November 8 expressing
"serious concerns" that the Islamic republic "has carried out
activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive
device".

Iran, already subject to four rounds of UN Security
Council sanctions, rejected the report as "baseless".

Ten days later the IAEA board passed a resolution
submitted by all five UN Security Council permanent members
condemning Iran but stopping short of reporting it to New York
or setting a deadline for Tehran to comply.

Iran`s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh,
angrily called the move "unprofessional, unbalanced, illegal
and politicised" and said it put future cooperation with the
agency in doubt.

Soltanieh was not immediately available for comment.

PTI