Iran confirms invitation to visit nuclear sites - UPDATED

Some reports said, "Iran has invited Russia, China and several European Union members to visit its nuclear facilities this month, but snubbed US.

Iran confirms invitation to visit nuclear sites - UPDATED

Iran confirmed on Tuesday it has invited ambassadors of some of the six world powers and European Union nations to visit its nuclear facilities ahead of talks in Istanbul over its atomic programme.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said the ambassadors were invited to travel to the country before Tehran and six world powers are due to meet in Istanbul at the end of January.

They included representatives from some of the six powers -- China, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and the United States, ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

"They will possibly visit Iran and our nuclear facilities on Jan. 15 and 16," he said.

He did not give details, but a diplomat in Vienna said Russia, China, Egypt, Algeria, Cuba and current EU president Hungary were believed to be among those invited. Britain said it was not invited.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear body, said the plan was for the group to travel to the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water reactor.

The two sites are at the heart of Iran's nuclear dispute with the West.

"Ambassadors ... are invited to visit our nuclear sites, particularly in Natanz and Arak," Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Reuters in Vienna. "This is in the line of our transparent nuclear policy," he said, adding that meetings with high-ranking Iranian officials would also be organised.

Tehran and the powers agreed in Geneva last month to meet again in Istanbul in late January.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the country had received Iran's invitation, without saying if it would go.

Hungary's foreign ministry said it had also received Iran's invitation and that it was consulting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and member states about Tehran's proposal.

Mehmanparast said Tehran's invitation has once again shown the goodwill of our country regarding cooperation with the IAEA and Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.

However, other reports said, "Iran has invited Russia, China and several European Union members to visit its nuclear facilities this month, but snubbed the United States."


Agencies

Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2011, 16:41
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