Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.12
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) has denied a Reuters report, indicating that the International Atomic Energy Agency will open an office in Iran, the Mehr News Agency reported on January 12.
Mehr quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi as saying that such an issue has not ever been discussed in any of bilateral meetings. It is not clear what are the source and the aim of such news, he said.
Reuters quoted diplomats as saying today that the U.N. atomic watchdog is considering increasing its presence in Iran to better handle a bigger workload in verifying Tehran is implementing a landmark deal with world powers to curb its nuclear program.
Faced with an expanded role as a result of the November 24 accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency is likely to need more inspectors in Iran and is also examining whether to set up a small, temporary office there, they said.
"I don't think it would be sensitive," a Western diplomat in the Austrian capital said. "It should be seen as a natural corollary to daily access. If staff is there every day, they should be able to have an office."
The IAEA will see its work increase under the interim agreement between Iran and the six major powers because its inspectors will be the ones checking that Tehran lives up to its side of the six-month deal to halt sensitive nuclear work.
Diplomats accredited to the IAEA said some sort of office in Iran could help ease the administrative and logistical burden of carrying out more frequent inspections of Iran's enrichment sites of Natanz and Fordow and other facilities.
This could, for example, reduce the time and money spent on travel to and from Iran and also facilitate the handling of specialised equipment. "It is to make it (the agency's activities) more effective," one of the diplomats said.