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Iran welcomes visit by U.N. official

May 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

TEHRAN, May 19 (UPI) -- A visit by the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to Tehran is a chance to reset negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, an official said Saturday.

Yukiya Amano, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, plans to make a one-day visit Monday, accompanied by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts and Assistant Director General Rafael Grossi. In a statement Friday, the IAEA said Amano will spend time in discussions with Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he believes the visit will be helpful to talks between Iran and the IAEA, The Tehran Times reported.

"We regard the visit by the agency's director general as a gesture of goodwill," Salehi stated, adding, "The focus will be on the issue of modality and a new working modality to help clear up the ambiguities and the agency's questions. And we hope that an agreement will be reached between both sides to devise a new modality."

The IAEA wants Iran to allow nuclear inspectors access to its military base at Parchin to determine if triggers for nuclear weapons are being manufactured there. Wider talks on Iran's nuclear program are scheduled to be held Wednesday in Baghdad with representatives of the five veto powers on the U.S. Security Council and Germany.

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