Heinonen in Iran for Talks

A0311906.jpgThe deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Tehran on Monday for a further round of talks on the Iranian nuclear program. Olli Heinonen’s visit comes a day after IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he had not received “any information” that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons, as claimed by the United States.

Heinonen will be discussing Iran’s use of uranium-enriching P1 centrifuges and its research into the more sophisticated P2 versions.

Upon arrival at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport, Heinonen said he was hopeful that his talks with Iranian nuclear officials would be successful.

“So far we have done many things but there remains a lot of other work that hopefully will be done,” Heinonen said.

Based on the result of these talks, ElBaradei is due to submit a report on the status of the Iranian uranium enrichment program by the end of November.

Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of Iran’s atomic energy organization, pledged to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog to clear up any remaining issues before the report comes out.

“It is possible that the agency raises new questions and points, before ElBaradei’s report, under the framework of the same (previous) questions,” said Saeedi, who greeted Heinonen at Tehran airport.

“In this case, we will provide the necessary answers.”

Saeedi said that the talks on P1 and P2 centrifuges, through “explicit and open discussions,” were close to reaching a final conclusion.

The talks are part of a deal Heinonen clinched in August for Iran to answer outstanding questions over its atomic program so the agency can conclude a four-year investigation into its nature.

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