Iran: Visiting IAEA Team Will Not Inspect Nuclear Facilities

Posted February 21st, 2012 at 3:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Iran says a visiting team of United Nations nuclear officials will not inspect Iranian nuclear facilities despite international concerns that such facilities are part of a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday the purpose of the visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency team is not inspections but discussions on a “framework” for future dialogue and cooperation.

The IAEA team arrived in Tehran Monday for a two-day visit. Delegation leader Herman Nackaerts said his top priority is getting answers to allegations of military dimensions to the Iranian nuclear program. Israel and Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Iranian state radio said Monday the delegation hoped to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin complex, a conventional weapons development plant near Tehran. The site also is suspected of housing a secret underground nuclear facility. Iran denies the claim. It was not clear if the IAEA team was able to visit the complex.

Israel and the United States have not ruled out the use of force to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. But, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday there is “time and space” for diplomacy and international sanctions to produce a “change in Iranian behavior.”

The deputy head of Iran's armed forces said his nation is ready to take pre-emptive action against its enemies. The semi-official Iranian news agency Fars quotes Mohammad Hejazi as saying his forces “will not wait” for Iran to be attacked first. Iran said Monday it was starting air defense exercises to better protect its nuclear facilities from potential airstrikes.

Iranian spokesman Mehmanparast also said Tehran has set conditions for future oil sales to the European Union, which plans to boycott Iranian crude from July 1 as part of a Western campaign to pressure Iran into stopping sensitive nuclear activities.

Mehmanparast said Iran wants guarantees of payments, agreements on long-term contracts and a ban on unilateral cancelation of those contracts. Tehran already has stopped limited oil sales to Britain and France and has threatened to expand the export stoppage to other EU nations whom it accuses of hostile behavior.