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Iran

UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Iran

UN inspectors have arrived in Iran to hold talks with Tehran in an effort to ease concern over its nuclear program. It is the first meeting between the two parties since August.

Representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, arrived in Tehran Thursday. The seven-member team is scheduled to hold talks with Iranian officials in the capital in an effort to restart previously unsuccessful dialogue over its nuclear program.

The IAEA says it is hoping to reach an agreement with Iran on a "structured approach" to resolving concerns about the country's nuclear program, and give its inspectors broader access to Iranian nuclear sites and people working in the program.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday ahead of the visit that talks would focus on "Iran's nuclear rights as well as its peaceful nuclear activities."

But "certain issues that have possibly become a source of concern for [IAEA] officials can also be discussed," he added.

Parchin

The IAEA is also seeking to inspect Parchin, a restricted military complex near Tehran where it believes experiments with explosives capable of triggering a nuclear weapon could have been carried out.

"We also hope that Iran will allow us to go to the site of Parchin, and if Iran would grant us access we would welcome that chance and we are ready to go," IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts told reporters in Vienna Wednesday before leaving for Tehran.

But Iranian news agency ISNA said "no plans were announced yet for inspectors to visit Iran's nuclear facilities or other sites."

Tehran says Parchin is a conventional military site. The country has also stressed that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and denies allegations that it is building a nuclear bomb.

dr/msh (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)