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IAEA visit to Tehran 'important step'

Larijani and El Baradei agree to draw a plan of action upon which Iran will oblige itself to clarify technical ambiguities to IAEA.

world Updated: Jul 01, 2007 17:04 IST

The visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector to Iran could be a 'big and important step' for settling the dispute over Iran's nuclear programmes, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Sunday.

Chief inspector Olli Heinonen and an IAEA delegation will visit Iran from July 11 to 13 to clarify ambiguities over Iran's nuclear projects. "The visit of the IAEA team is part of an agreement reached last week between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei in Vienna," Hosseini said.

"This visit will be a suitable opportunity and a big and important step in settling the dispute," the spokesman added.

Larijani and El Baradei had agreed to draw a plan of action upon which Iran would oblige itself to clarify all remaining technical ambiguities to the IAEA and later settle the political aspects of the nuclear dispute with Solana.

Hosseini however noted that the visit would just clarify the framework on how to proceed in settling the technical aspects of the dispute. Following the IAEA visit to Iran, Larijani is reportedly to hold another meeting with Solana. The two are to meet again in mid-July but the exact date and venue were not yet clear.

Observers believe that Iran might resume implementation of the IAEA Additional Protocol - allowing snap inspections of the country's nuclear sites - on condition that the country's nuclear rights are acknowledged and the Iranian case is returned from the United Nations Security Council to the IAEA.

Iran might then even agree to reduce temporarily the level of its enrichment process to research purposes rather than upgrading it to industrial scale.

The main problem between the five UN veto powers plus Germany (5+1) and Iran is Iran's rejection of the demand that it stop its uranium enrichment programmes fully.

Both Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad however reiterated Saturday that Iran would stick to its nuclear programmes saying that the international row over the issue would not change the national will.

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