Iran invites IAEA to visit nuclear sites

Jan. 4, 2011 at 9:22 AM
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TEHRAN, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Tehran invited ambassadors to the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit Iranian nuclear installations as a sign of goodwill, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday during his regular press briefing that IAEA envoys and certain delegates from the global community were invited to the country to hear what he said was Tehran's message of transparent and peaceful nuclear activity, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reports.

Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, Iran's permanent representative to the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, sent separate letters to IAEA delegates, the spokesman added.

Mehmanparast said that the move was a sign of Iran's goodwill toward the international community and its nuclear concerns.

The invitation, which is directed at European allies and not the United States, is timed ahead of a multilateral discussion on Iran's nuclear program this month in Istanbul.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, told The New York Times that the invitation from the Iranians was a "clever ploy."

Iran is under scrutiny for its controversial nuclear program. Western leaders say Iran is using a civilian program to hide its weapons intentions, though Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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