UN nuclear watchdog to visit Iran: Diplomats

UN nuclear agency delegation will visit Iran in late January to clear up allegations of a covert weapons programme and soothe tensions between Tehran and the West.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2012, 20:40 PM IST

Vienna: A high-level UN nuclear agency
delegation will visit Iran in late January to try to clear up
allegations of a covert weapons programme and soothe tensions
between Tehran and the West, diplomats said on Friday.

The visit for talks led by International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Herman Nackaerts would last from
the 28th through the first week of February, a Western
diplomat said.

Another envoy said the trip, two months after an IAEA
report on Iran took suspicions to a new level that Tehran is
developing nuclear weapons, also said it would "likely" be
from January 28, although it was not yet definite.

The delegation would include alongside the Belgian
Nakaerts, the IAEA`s senior legal official Peri Lynne Johnson,
an American, and Rafael Grossi, the Argentine deputy director
general of the Vienna-based watchdog, the diplomat said.

"The aim of this mission is to try to get answers once
and for all to all the questions raised by the IAEA`s report
in November," one of the diplomats said on condition of
anonymity. An IAEA spokesman declined to comment.

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.

Ali Larijani, the influential speaker of Iran`s
parliament, said on Thursday during a visit to Turkey that his
country stood ready for negotiations with the five permanent
members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany.

In its November 8 report, rubbished as "baseless" by
Iran, the IAEA had said it was able to build an overall
impression that Tehran "carried out activities relevant to the
development of a nuclear explosive device."

PTI