Iran's atomic chief cancels visit to Vienna

Iran Materials 28 September 2008 15:31 (UTC +04:00)

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has cancelled a scheduled trip to Vienna to attend the general assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), local media reported Sunday.

Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh, who is also Iran's vice-president, was to address the assembly Monday and was also expected to meet with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, repoted dpa.

ISNA news agency however quoted an unnamed nuclear official as saying that Aqazadeh would not attend the assembly.

According to ISNA, Aqazadeh's deputy Mohammad Saeidi and Iran's IAEA envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh would attend the IAEA general assembly instead.

No reason was given for the sudden cancellation but is widely believed that the decision was due to the United Nations Security Council's resolution on Saturday calling on Iran to "comply fully" with past UN demands to halt its uranium-enrichment programmes.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili dismissed the resolution as "not constructive and will not help solve the problem either."

Aqazadeh is in charge of the technical aspects of Iran's nuclear programmes while Jalili is in charge of political talks with the world powers through European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated at the United Nations in New York that Iran was ready to hold talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany to settle the dispute over its controversial programmes.

But he said Iran would not accept pre-conditions nor give in to demands to suspend enrichment of uranium.