Iran inspections to resume on 27th
WASHINGTON: The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said he spoke with the Iranians on Monday and they told him the freeze on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections would be lifted so they could resume on March 27.
“I was informed by the Iranian authorities that the new date for inspectors arriving would be on March 27. Although this delay is regrettable, nonetheless the new date is still within our time schedule for conducting inspections,” IAEA chief Muhammad ElBaradei said.
The IAEA’s governing board condemned Iran on Saturday for withholding sensitive nuclear information. Iran hit back, saying the reason it had suspended UN nuclear inspections on Friday was to show its displeasure at the resolution, then in draft form.
In a statement to reporters on the first full day of his four-day official visit to the United States, Mr ElBaradei said Iran would benefit from adhering to a policy of full transparency.
Washington says Iran’s nuclear programme is a front for building an atom bomb. Tehran denies this, saying its programme is solely for the peaceful generation of electricity. “It is clearly in the interest of Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and adopt a policy of proactive cooperation, so the IAEA can clarify all outstanding issues as early as possible,” Mr ElBaradei said.
An agency spokeswoman said the new date for the arrival of inspectors would still give the agency enough time to reach some conclusions by the next IAEA board meeting in June. —Reuters