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23 January 2012 - 22:14

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms plans for a January 29-31 visit to Iran, saying the visit aims to “resolve all outstanding substantive issues” regarding Iran's nuclear program.

"The Agency team is going to Iran in a constructive spirit, and we trust that Iran will work with us in that same spirit," Yukiya Amano, Director General of the Vienna-based agency, said in a statement, reported on Monday.

The IAEA mission will be led by Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, head of nuclear safeguards inspections worldwide, and will include Rafael Grossi, the assistant director general for policy.

Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh had announced the visit last week, saying the excursion by the IAEA deputy director general is aimed at negotiating issues of common interest between Tehran and the agency.

“Iran's agreement to this visit indicates Tehran's interaction with the IAEA to remove ambiguities and to hold a meeting based on the obligations of both sides and within the framework of technical and expert issues,” Soltanieh explained.

The Iranian official also described the gesture as a sign of the Islamic Republic's nuclear transparency and Tehran's cooperation with the IAEA.

In November, the UN nuclear body released a report accusing Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, adding that these activities "may still be ongoing."

The document echoed allegations by the United States, Israel and their allies who accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program. They also used this allegation as a pretext to sway the UN Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

Tehran has categorically refuted Western allegation, saying that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency it has the right to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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