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UN chief nuclear inspector arrives in Iran for talks

world Updated: Jan 30, 2012 00:34 IST

AFP
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The UN's chief nuclear inspector arrived in Iran on Sunday on a mission to clear up “outstanding substantive issues” on Tehran’s atomic programme, and called for dialogue with the Islamic state.

Before departing from Vienna airport, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Herman Nackaerts told reporters that talks were long overdue. “We are trying to resolve all the outstanding issues with Iran,” he said.

"In particular we hope that Iran will engage with us on the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme.

We are looking forward to the start of a dialogue, a dialogue that is overdue since very long."

Nackaerts is leading a six-person IAEA team due to meet Iranian officials from later today until Tuesday. The delegation touched down in Tehran early this morning, the official news agency IRNA reported.

The team also includes IAEA number two Rafael Grossi, an Argentine, and the watchdog's senior legal official Peri Lynne Johnson, a US citizen, according to diplomats.

Nackaerts, who is Belgian, declined to comment on who he would meet during the trip, which is aimed at clearing up what the IAEA called “outstanding substantive issues”.

Expectations are low, with the delegation not expected to be given access to any sites mentioned in a damning IAEA report in November. IRNA quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in Addis Ababa for an African Union meeting, as saying he was “optimistic” about the delegation's visit.