Last updated: 11 December, 2012

Iran says ready for IAEA talks on issues of concern

Iran is ready to discuss issues of “concern” about its disputed nuclear programme with UN atomic watchdog experts during their planned visit to Tehran this week, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The visit by International Atomic Energy Agency experts on Thursday will focus on discussions regarding “Iran’s nuclear rights as well as its peaceful nuclear activities,” ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a weekly briefing.

But “certain issues that have possibly become a source of concern for (IAEA) officials can also be discussed,” Mehmanparast said, without elaborating.

The IAEA has urged Iran over the past year to clarify a number of issues that could point to a possible covert military dimension in Iran’s nuclear activities.

The watchdog has also tried in vain to gain access to Parchin military base near Tehran, where it suspects that experiments with explosives capable of triggering a nuclear weapon could have been carried out.

Tehran says its nuclear work is purely civilian, vehemently denying charges that its programme has a military objective.

Iran also stresses that IAEA demands to visit Parchin exceed the obligations it has to meet as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Iran hopes the talks will lead to Iran enjoying its complete nuclear rights and to removing concerns of the agency,” Mehmanparast added.

The resumption of talks with the IAEA comes after several meetings since the start of 2012, all unsuccessful.

According to the agency, the aim of the talks in Tehran is to sign an agreement on a “structured approach” giving IAEA inspectors broader access to sites, including Parchin, and individuals working in Iran’s nuclear programme.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said at the end of November that “if there is a political will on the part of Iran, we have a chance … to reach an agreement.”