Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors are due to end a mission to Iran today, as the organization seeks to ease international tensions over the country’s nuclear program.
The delegation arrived in the Iranian capital on Jan. 29 with Chief Inspector Herman Nackaerts expressing hope that the trip would allow for a “dialogue.”
In a November report, the IAEA cited “credible” sources as saying the country has studied how to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has repeatedly rejected accusations that its nuclear work is aimed at building weapons, and says documents in the IAEA’s possession are forged.
The European Union has announced plans to ban Iranian oil imports starting in July and to freeze the assets of the country’s central bank, the latest in a series of sanctions by the United Nations, the U.S. and the EU. Iran had warned that it may retaliate by disrupting shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, a conduit for 20 percent of global oil.
Iranian Foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said this week that the IAEA team would be visiting some of Iran’s nuclear sites and could extend its stay if it needed to. Iranian officials haven’t named the facilities or provided details of the team’s meetings.
The press office of the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog said today that the inspectors would be reporting to the IAEA’s director-general upon their return and there would be no briefing to journalists.
--Editors: Ben Holland, Digby Lidstone.
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