Iran's envoy to IAEA is hopeful on eve of nuclear watchdog visit

A reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran.

Story highlights

  • An IAEA team arrives in Tehran this weekend
  • "This trip is aimed at neutralizing enemy plots," Soltanieh says
  • IAEA inspector seeks to "clarify the issues with possible military dimensions"
Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday he is hopeful that the recent planned visit by representatives of the nuclear watchdog will "resolve any ambiguity and show (our) transparency and cooperation with the agency."
"This trip is aimed at neutralizing enemy plots ... and baseless allegations, and proving the peaceful nature of our nuclear activities," Ali Asghar Soltanieh told the state-run Islamic Republican News Agency.
An IAEA team led by chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and the Vienna-based group's second-in-command, Rafael Grossi, is scheduled to be in Iran from January 29 to January 31.
Nackaerts is traveling at Tehran's invitation, IRNA reported.
"The high-level team leaves Friday and starts work tomorrow," IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano told reporters on the sidelines of the Davos Forum in Switzerland. "We hope they (Iran) will take a constructive approach. We hope that there will be substantial cooperation. We are requesting that Iran clarify the situation. We proposed to make a mission and they agreed to accept the mission. The preparations have gone well, but we need to see what actually happens when the mission arrives."
In an interview with CNN, he said the visit is intended "to clarify the issues with possible military dimensions." He continued, "We are not very sure whether Iran has declared everything and, therefore, we are not very sure that everything stays in peaceful purpose. In addition, we have information that Iran has engaged in activities related to the development of nuclear weapons. Therefore, we need to clarify."
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Tehran's nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes. He has also said he was ready to discuss the program with world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
But U.S. and other Western officials have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons and have slapped sanctions on Iran.
The IAEA reported in November that it can no longer verify that the Iranian nuclear program remains peaceful.