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IAEA chief heads to Tehran for nuclear talks

IAEA chief heads to Tehran for nuclear talks

VIENNA: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog will travel on Saturday to Iran for talks on Tehran's nuclear programme with senior officials, the IAEA said in a statement.

The discussions between International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano and the “high-level” officials will take place on Sunday, it said, as a December deadline looms for completion of a long-running investigation into Iran's past nuclear activities.

The IAEA chief was expected to arrive in Tehran in the early hours of Sunday.

“The visit will focus on... clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear programme,” it said.




The UN atomic watchdog on September 9 said Iran must resolve some “ambiguities” over its past nuclear activities before crippling international sanctions can be lifted.

The IAEA wants to probe allegations that at least until 2003, Iran's nuclear programme had “possible military dimensions” — in other words that it conducted research into making a nuclear weapon.

Iran has said that the allegations that it sought to build a bomb — including that it conducted relevant explosives tests at the Parchin military base — are groundless and based on faulty intelligence provided by its enemies to a gullible and partial IAEA.

Under an agreement sealed in July between six world powers and Tehran, aimed at ending a 13-year standoff, Iran must dramatically reduce in scale its nuclear activities in order to make any dash to produce atomic weapons all but impossible.

As part of the deal, the IAEA will have to verify that Iran does indeed scale down its facilities, clearing a path towards ending UN, US and EU sanctions.

But the nuclear watchdog is also separately tasked with concluding its decade-old investigation into allegations that at least until 2003, Iran's nuclear programme had “possible military dimensions” — in other words that it conducted research into how to make an atomic weapon.

Iran signed an agreement with the IAEA on the same July day that it signed the nuclear deal with the six powers setting out a roadmap for wrapping up the investigation by December 15.

During his one-day visit, Amano might also appear in Iran's parliamentary panel tasked with reviewing the nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Fars news agency quoted conservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani, who leads the panel, saying that Amano will go to the parliament at 2:00 pm local time on Sunday.

Iranian lawmakers are in the final steps reviewing the text. It is not clear whether there will be a vote or not.

Earlier this month the Republican-led US House of Representatives rejected the deal on Iran's nuclear program, in a purely symbolic vote held a day after the Senate cleared the way for the accord to come into force.

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