Saturday, January 28, 2012

U.N. weapons experts going to Tehran

VIENNA (AP) -- The U.N. nuclear agency is including two senior weapons experts on its next mission to Tehran in an unusually clear statement on the team's prime focus -- wresting information from Iranian officials about suspicions the country has secretly worked on atomic arms.

Iran has flatly refused to discuss such allegations for more than three years, saying they were based on phony intelligence from the U.S. and others seeking to harm the Islamic Republic.

But diplomats on Friday told The Associated Press that the weapons experts were part of the U.N team and that Iran had accepted their inclusion after some initial resistance. That suggested that the Islamic Republic was being more conciliatory on the issue of secret weapons work than usual as the International Atomic Energy Agency mission prepares to fly from Vienna to Tehran Saturday.

All six diplomats interviewed said Tehran had not committed to discussing the issue. But three of them added that Iranian officials indicated openness to talking about all topics during the IAEA mission that ends early next week -- a departure from standard reluctance by Tehran to exclude give-and-take on the arms allegations. Read More