THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

UN atomic chief to press Iran during trip

Email|Print| Text size + By George Jahn
Associated Press / January 8, 2008

VIENNA - The chief UN nuclear inspector is heading to Iran this week, a visit that will overlap with a Middle East tour by President Bush.

Diplomats, meanwhile, said Tehran has begun sharing information about past programs the United States says were attempts to make nuclear weapons.

As head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei has spearheaded years of efforts to press Iran for full disclosure of its nuclear activities.

Announcing his trip yesterday, ElBaradei spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said he would be in Tehran on Friday and Saturday "with a view of resolving all remaining outstanding issues and enabling the agency to provide assurance about Iran's past and present activities."

She said ElBaradei would meet with top officials, but gave no details. However, a diplomat familiar with ElBaradei's itinerary said the nuclear chief expected to meet with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The official demanded anonymity because the information was confidential.

The trip comes at a time of renewed US efforts to keep the pressure on Iran on the nuclear issue.

During his Middle East tour, Bush is expected to try to bolster the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. He is also likely to seek backing for US concerns about Iran's refusal to cease uranium enrichment and other activities that could ultimately be used to make nuclear arms.

A recent US intelligence assessment that Iran had a clandestine weapons program but stopped working on it four years ago has hurt Washington's attempts to have the UN Security Council impose a third set of sanctions on Tehran for failing to halt enrichment.

Tehran says it never worked on nuclear weapons and wants to enrich uranium only to generate electricity. The United States and its allies maintain Tehran could use its enriched uranium to make nuclear payloads for missiles.

An Israeli Defense Ministry official said yesterday that Israel will urge Bush to reassess the US conclusion that Iran stopped nuclear weapons development in 2003.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak will tell Bush that Israeli intelligence analysts conclude that Iran is continuing to try to produce nuclear arms, the official told the Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was barred from publicly commenting on the talks in advance.

more stories like this

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
 
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Del.icio.us Save this article
  • powered by Del.icio.us
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: Boston.com does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.