IAEA delegation arrives in Tehran

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General Herman M.G. Nackaerts (C) talks with reporters upon returning from his trip to Iran, December 14, 2012.

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran for a new round of negotiations with Iranian officials.

The delegation, led by the agency’s Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts, was welcomed by Iran’s Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh on Wednesday.

The IAEA experts are expected to discuss issues regarding Tehran’s nuclear energy program with Iranian officials in the coming hours.

The agency says the visit is aimed at finalizing a framework agreement with Iran.

Nackaerts, who is also the head of the IAEA Department of Safeguards, said on Tuesday that the Agency’s inspectors also hope to win Iran’s green light to visit the country’s Parchin military site.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano had earlier claimed that Iran was making efforts to ‘clean up traces of nuclear activity’ at the Parchin site.

Iran has rejected the allegation of nuclear activities being carried out at the Parchin military site. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has further pointed out that it is technically impossible to clean up places where nuclear work has been done.

Iran and the IAEA had last met and held talks in Tehran on December 14, 2012. Nackaerts said, at that time, progress had been made in negotiations between the agency and the Islamic Republic.

The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran refutes the allegation and argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.