IAEA to visit Iran at end of month

2012-01-23 21:46

Vienna - The UN atomic agency confirmed on Monday a high-level visit to Iran would take place from January 29-31 for talks on Tehran's contested nuclear drive.

The team from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which said last week the visit would take place in late January, will be led by chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and the Vienna-based body's number two, Rafael Grossi.

"The agency team is going to Iran in a constructive spirit, and we trust that Iran will work with us in that same spirit," IAEA director general Yukiya Amano said in a statement.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, was quoted by the Fars news agency last week as giving the same dates for the trip.

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 country.

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