The Iranian Foreign Minister has said that the International Atomic Agency Company (IAEA) delegation currently visiting the country can extend its stay if it wishes to.
The Islamic Republic News Agency has quoted Ali Akbar Salehi as saying: “We are very optimistic on the results of the IAEA trip. They are here for a three-day trip, and if they want, it [the mission] could be extended”.
The delegation arrived in Iran yesterday in order to assess whether or not the country’s nuclear activities fall in line with UN directives against them enriching uranium for military purposes. The six-strong team is currently due to leave the country on Tuesday.
The visit is seen by many as a chance to defuse tensions between Iran and the West, which have remained high ever since a November IAEA report suggested Tehran was researching nuclear weapons. Iran has dismissed the report as biased.
Iran has consistently claimed that its nuclear programme is only intended for commercial energy purposes, not military, and has repeatedly asserted its right to atomic energy.
Salehi also underlined this position: “No one has the right to tell us to halt enrichment. Enrichment is our right based on the [Nuclear Proliferation Treaty] and our being an official member of IAEA, and no one has the right to ask us to stop this legal activity”.
Salehi reportedly also urged the European Union and the United States to “replace their policy of sanctions with interaction”.