Iran invites IAEA envoys to visit nuclear sites

Ambassadors accredited to IAEA to visit nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic.


Reuters January 04, 2011

TEHRAN: Iran confirmed on Tuesday it had invited some ambassadors accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to visit nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic.

Those invited included representatives from some of the six major powers involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

He said the visit would take place before a meeting between Iran and the six powers, Russia, China, the United States, France, Germany and Britain, in Istanbul.

Tehran and the powers agreed at a meeting in Geneva last month, the first such talks in more than a year, to meet again in the Turkish city in late January.

"The new move of inviting the ambassadors of different countries to visit our nuclear facilities has once again shown the goodwill of our country regarding cooperation (with the IAEA) and (Iran's) peaceful nuclear activities," Mehmanparast said.

He said the invited ambassadors also included some European Union states as well as envoys from the non-aligned movement of mainly developing countries.

"The visit would be before the next round of talks in Istanbul," he said.

A senior European diplomat told Reuters on Monday that Iran had invited several ambassadors accredited to the IAEA, the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear agency, to tour its nuclear facilities.

Major powers want Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme, which many of them suspect is a cover for an effort to build a nuclear arsenal. Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium for civilian use and does not want atomic weapons.

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