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IAEA seeks Iran mission to address nuclear concerns

The UN nuclear watchdog wants to send a special high-level mission to Iran to address mounting concerns the country may be seeking to design nuclear weapons, its head said on Thursday.

November 17, 2011 3:24 by

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said he had written to the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation earlier this month to suggest the visit, which would air issues raised by the IAEA’s latest report on Iran.

Last week’s report presented the agency’s clearest findings to date that Iran has been conducting research and experiments relevant to developing a capability to build nuclear bombs, and that some activities may continue.

Iran denies that it is seeking atomic weapons, dismissing intelligence information in the IAEA report as fabricated.

“I hope a suitable date can be agreed soon. It is essential that any such mission should be well planned and that it should address the issues contained in my report,” Amano told an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna.

“I ask Iran to engage substantively with the Agency without delay and provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme,” he said, according to a copy of his statement to the closed-door meeting.

Western diplomats said six world powers were close to finalising an agreement on a draft resolution at the two-day IAEA meeting expressing concern about Iran’s activities and calling on it to cooperate with the IAEA.

The fact that the six major powers were set to agree on a joint text will be welcomed in the West after the IAEA report prompted Russia to complain that it was politicised and dimmed chances of a negotiated solution to the Iran nuclear dispute.

Moscow’s stance exposed big power divisions over how to best to resolve it.

“It (resolution) will maintain pressure on Iran,” one Western diplomat said. (Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Fredrik Dahl)

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