IAEA not to visit nuclear sites: Iran

IAEA not to visit nuclear sites: Iran

IAEA not to visit nuclear sites: Iran

Ahmadinejad (R) recently announced new nuclear achievements in Tehran. REUTERS photo

A U.N. team visiting Iran has no plans to inspect the country’s nuclear facilities and will only hold talks with officials in Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday.

The two-day visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency team, which started Feb. 20, is the second in less than a month amid growing concerns over alleged Iranian weapons experiments.

Iran denies charges by the West that it seeks atomic weapons, insisting its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation. Ramin Mehmanparast said the visiting IAEA team was made up of experts, not inspectors. He told reporters that the IAEA team was holding discussions yesterday in Tehran to prepare the ground for future cooperation between Iran and the U.N. watchdog. He said this cooperation is at its “best” level.

“The titles of the members of the visiting delegation is not inspectors. This is an expert delegation. The purpose of visit is not inspection,” said Mehmanparast. “The aim is to negotiate about cooperation between Iran and the agency and to set a framework for a continuation of the talks.” Visits to individual Iranian nuclear sites were also not part of the IAEA earlier visit three weeks ago.

Mehmanparast added that the country views its nuclear activities as a non-negotiable right. “Our main demand is recognition of our right to possess the (nuclear) technology for peaceful purposes,” Mehmanparast said. “That right has been achieved, and we don’t think there is a negotiable issue regarding our nuclear activities.”

Meanwhile, the European Union was studying Iran’s positive response to an offer it made late last year to revive talks with the P5+1 that collapsed in Jan. 2011. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the talks could resume if Iran placed no pre-conditions on them, particularly concerning its nuclear program.