UN atomic chief to visit Tehran in probe
( AP ) - The head of the U.N. atomic agency will visit Tehran this week to try to add momentum to his agency's investigation of Iran's past nuclear activities and learn more about present programs, the agency said Monday.
Iran is under two sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for its refusal to freeze uranium enrichment, a potential pathway to nuclear arms, and Washington is pushing for additional U.N. penalties. But a recent U.S. intelligence assessment that it probably shut down a clandestine weapons program three years ago have led to increased resistance to such a move from permanent Security Council members Russia and China.
Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency, said director general Mohamed ElBaradei will visit Friday and Saturday to help "provide assurance about Iran's past and present nuclear activities." She provided no other details in an e-mailed statement.
The trip comes at a time of growing impatience from the U.S. and its allies about the pace of the IAEA's probe into Iran's past nuclear activities.
ElBaradei last year said he expected to complete the investigation by December 2007. But diplomats familiar with the situation who demanded anonymity because their information is confidential have told The Associated Press that agency experts have encountered obstacles.