IAEA team in Tehran for talks

Meeting with Iranian authorities should yield real results: Herman

A high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran Monday for talks on nuclear issues.

IAEA chief inspector Herman Nackaerts speaks to the media at Vienna airport before boarding a plane to Iran on Sunday. AFP

The five-member delegation is led by IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts.
“We hope to have few days of good and constructive talks in Tehran,” Nackaerts said on Sunday, adding the meeting with Iranian authorities should yield “real results”.

But he cautioned progress “may take a while.” The last such visit, three weeks ago, yielded no breakthrough.

Iran has taken an increasingly defiant stance against Western sanctions and Israeli threats of military action against it.

On Sunday, its oil ministry announced crude exports to France and Britain had been halted, apparently in retaliation for an EU ban on Iranian oil that is being phased in during the next five months.

Western powers and Israel suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons, however, Iran strongly denies this, saying its program is of a civilian nature only.

Meanwhile, Iran’s top nuclear official said the core of a reactor in Tehran would be changed in the coming months, which is the latest in a string of statements about nuclear developments in the Islamic republic.

Fereydoun Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying the reactor had at least 20 fuel assemblies and their numbers would increase.

“We have placed the first indigenous fuel complex into the reactor core and we will add more in the coming months so that finally we can replace the old core with a new one,” he said.

Abbasi said the reactor was “very important” since it would enable the country to produce vital pharmaceuticals.

Davani said the powers —the so-called P5+1 group consisting of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany — should let up with the pressure.

“They would do better to change their method, because what they’ve used in the past hasn’t met with success,” he said.

“We are going to pursue our (nuclear) path,” which is purely for peaceful ends, he said.
Davani added previous talks on providing Iran with nuclear fuel were now invalid, “because we produce our own fuel — now when we sit down at the table, it'll be us who will ask them (the P5+1) if they want fuel.” He also taunted Israel, which he said was “afraid of the progress we’ve made in the nuclear field.”

The official, who escaped an assassin’s bomb in 2010, said: “They have done all they can, killing our nuclear scientists. If they haven’t attacked Iran by now it’s because they’re not able to do so.” But should an attack occur, he warned, Iran’s military “will deal an appropriate response.”

The chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, told state television the West was responsible for the jitters that have sent oil prices higher.

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