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UN inspectors to return to Iran

world Updated: Apr 27, 2008 01:55 IST
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Inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog would make a return visit to Tehran to discuss intelligence alleging Iran pursued nuclear weapons studies, diplomats in Vienna confirmed on Friday.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation, headed by chief inspector Olli Heinonen, will depart for Iran Sunday, a diplomat close to the IAEA said.

“They will travel to Iran Sunday for talks as agreed with Iranian officials,” the Vienna-based diplomat said, adding that the topic of discussion would be the alleged weaponisation studies.

In a sign of movement on the controversial issue on Tehran’s part, Iran and the IAEA are expected to continue talks held earlier this week.

The visit was within the agreement reached with Iran earlier this week, diplomats said.

The two sides held intensive two-day talks over allegations that Iran was pursuing secret nuclear weapons studies.

The IAEA inspectors want answers from Tehran regarding intelligence received from Western member states on alleged studies on uranium conversion, high explosives testing and work on a missile re-entry vehicle, which all have potential nuclear weapons applications.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, however, termed the visit by Heinonen to Tehran just a routine act and rejected Western press reports that the talks were solely focused on the new allegations.

Mottaki maintained that Iran had already answered all outstanding questions and rejected the "baseless allegations" of a clandestine weapons programme.