Iran shows Natanz enrichment plant to IAEA envoys

Iran snubbed the United States, Britain, France and Germany by not inviting their IAEA ambassadors.

Iran shows Natanz enrichment plant to IAEA envoys

Iran showed its Natanz uranium enrichment plant to a group of U.N. nuclear watchdog ambassadors as a sign of transparency over its nuclear activities, state television reported on Sunday.

Envoys from mainly non-aligned developing nations were on the tour. Counterparts from the West, Russia and China were either not invited or rejected Iran's gesture.

Natanz and the incomplete Arak heavy-water reactor are at the heart of a long-running international dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, which Tehran says has peaceful aims but the West suspects is designed to develop a weapons capability.

"The aim of this tour was to make it clear that America and some other countries are trying to distort the facts of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities," said Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"This was an initiative to display the transparency of our activities ... and that the propaganda against our work is baseless," he was quoted by state television as saying.

It was not known if the envoys were given access to Natanz's underground centrifuge production hall.

Iran snubbed the United States, Britain, France and Germany by not inviting their IAEA ambassadors. The envoys had toured the incomplete Arak site on Saturday.

China and Russia, warned by Western officials, declined the offer.

The next talks will be in Istanbul on Jan. 21-22.

The envoys will stay in Iran until Monday. "Those countries that didn't join us in this visit have lost a great opportunity," Soltanieh said.

"Time is on our side in the talks with the (six powers), and not on the side of the Western countries," acting Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, told state television on Sunday.

Salehi had said on Saturday that the Islamic Republic's enrichment activities were "progressing strongly".

"The world has to acknowledge our rights finally," said Salehi, the student news agency ISNA reported.

Iran has been hit by four round of U.N. sanctions and the United States and the EU have imposed unilateral sanctions to push Iran to suspend uranium enrichment-related work in exchange for a packet of trade and diplomatic incentives.


Agencies

Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2011, 17:05
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