Iran invites IAEA envoys to visit nuclear sites

Iran said on Tuesday it had invited some envoys accredited to the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit some of its nuclear facilities this month, shortly before a second round of talks between Tehran and major powers.

Those invited included representatives from some of the six world powers involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told a news conference.

He said the visit would happen before a meeting between Iran and the six powers — Russia, China, the United States, France, Germany and Britain — that is due in Istanbul later this month.

Tehran and the powers agreed at a meeting in Geneva last month, the first such talks in more than a year, to hold more discussions in the Turkish city in late January even though no exact date has yet been announced.

The Geneva meeting made little progress toward resolving the long-running row over Iran’s nuclear work, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful electricity production.

Mehmanparast did not say which nuclear facilities the envoys would travel to.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog, regularly visits Iranian nuclear sites including a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

But the agency has voiced growing frustration at what it sees as lack of Iranian cooperation with its inspectors.