IAEA chief in Iran ahead of Baghdad nuclear talks

IAEA chief in Iran ahead of Baghdad nuclear talks

TEHRAN - Agence France-Presse
IAEA chief in Iran ahead of Baghdad nuclear talks

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano. AFP Photo

The head of the UN nuclear surveillance agency pressed Iran over inspections during a visit to Tehran yesterday that was being closely watched ahead of wider nuclear talks between Iran and world powers tomorrow.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano kicked off his day of meetings with Fereydoon Abbasi Davani, the official in charge of Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The very fact Amano himself was in Tehran, on his first trip to Iran since taking the helm of the IAEA, raised speculation that the Islamic republic could grant the IAEA access to a key military installation, Parchin, outside Tehran, for the first time in seven years. Iran says Parchin is not a designated nuclear site and thus it is not obliged to permit IAEA inspections, although it last did so in 2005.

After the talks, Abbasi Davani’s Iranian Atomic Energy Organization issued a statement saying that issues were raised “in a frank manner and proposals were made to remove ambiguities and to develop cooperation.” Amano made no immediate comment. He was to hold separate discussions with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi. Before leaving on the Iran trip, Amano said he aimed to build on “good progress” made last week between lower-ranking IAEA and Iranian officials in Vienna.

The outcome of his visit was seen as an indicator of Iran’s willingness to allay international suspicions of nuclear weapons research. Those questions were to be raised tomorrow in Baghdad talks between Iran and P5+1 countries.