By Farshid Motahari
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran confirmed Saturday a visit by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), official news agency IRNA reported.
At the same time however, Tehran reiterated that the visit did not mean Iran would make any concessions over its nuclear rights.
“The IAEA inspectors will come to Iran and the visit will take about one month,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast.
“But Iran is absolutely serious in maintaining its nuclear rights and will not make any concessions in this regard,” the spokesman added.
The high-ranking IAEA delegation, headed by deputy head Herman Nackaerts, will visit Iran on Jan. 28. Also in the team will be assistant director general Rafael Grossi and IAEA legal department head Peri Lynne Johnson.
The team is scheduled to inspect the new uranium enrichment site of Fordo, south of the capital Tehran, which Iran says is to become operational in February and enrich uranium to 3.5, 4 and 20 percent.
This is the first IAEA team to visit Iran after the UN nuclear agency accused Tehran in a November report of being involved in a secret nuclear weapons program. Tehran categorically denied the charges.
The IAEA report is expected to serve as a basis for further harsh sanctions by the West against Tehran which, this time, will also include the central bank and Iran’s oil exports — which form more than 70 percent of the country’s income.
“Our invitation to the IAEA to come to Iran proves that our nuclear activities are transparent, that we have nothing to hide and that our approach with the IAEA is based upon goodwill,” Mehmanparast said.
The results of the IAEA visit could also clarify whether the world powers will engage in further nuclear talks with Iran.
Iran has already voiced its readiness for resuming nuclear talks and welcomed Istanbul to again be the venue for negotiations, as it was in January 2011.
Iran is accused by the West of using its technology for a secret weapons program but Tehran has constantly denied these charges.
During a trip to Latin America earlier last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly rejected claims that Iran sought to produce nuclear weapons — terming weapons of mass destruction “immoral” according to Islamic teachings.