UN nuclear team arrives in Iran

TEHRAN (AFP) — A delegation from the UN nuclear watchdog arrived in Tehran early Monday for a two-day visit aimed at seeking a solution to a dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, the ISNA news agency said.

The visit is the second to Iran in three weeks and is seen as a key test of Iran's willingness to hold substantive talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency about suspicious activities outlined by the agency in a November report.

The team is headed by chief UN nuclear inspector Herman Nackaerts, who before boarding the plane for Tehran in Vienna expressed hope that "concrete results" would emerge from the trip, but cautioned that progress "may take a while."

"We hope to have a couple of good and constructive days in Tehran," Nackaerts told reporters at Vienna airport.

"Importantly we hope for some concrete results from this trip. The highest priority remains of course the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear programme, but we want to tackle all outstanding issues," he said.

"This is of course a very complex issue that may take a while. But we hope it can be constructive."

Western diplomats to the IAEA said that the first trip, from January 29-31, was more of a confidence-building exercise, with the inspectors neither meeting key figures in Iran's nuclear programme nor visiting any nuclear sites.

The IAEA's November report said Iran had carried out activities that were "relevant to producing" a nuclear weapon.

Since its publication, the United States and the European Union have ramped up sanctions on Iran's oil sector, and speculation has grown that Iran's arch rival Israel might launch military attacks on Iranian atomic facilities.

The Islamic republic, which denies seeking the bomb and which says the IAEA report was baseless, last week defiantly trumpeted advances -- downplayed by Washington as "hyped" -- in its nuclear programme.

Iran also signalled on Sunday that it is ready to hit back hard at sanctions threatening its economy, by announcing it has halted its limited oil sales to France and Britain.

Iran said last week it was ready to resume stalled talks on its nuclear drive with the P5+1 powers -- the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany -- which broke down in Turkey in January 2011.


Act of Cowardice

Iran's ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law.  READ MORE

The rush to Tehran amidst rise in executions

World leaders should halt these visits and link any deal with Iran to its human rights record.  READ MORE

Arming a dictator

What if President Obama ordered the sale of arms to Syrian dictator to massacre his opponents? READ MORE

Slaughter intensifies under Rouhani

231 executions have occurred since the presidential election in June which brought to power Hassan Rouhani. READ MORE

Silence is not the answer

Iran: Bloody crackdown targeting dissidents aims at terrorizing the people into submission. READ MORE

Iran’s Murder Machine

The wheels of Iran's Murder Machine turn in tandem with its nuclear machine. READ MORE

What now?

The West must drop the dangerous pretence that talking to a regime not interested in listening constitutes the winning strategy. READ MORE

A facelift

This cosmetic facelift should not dupe the West into thinking that there are fresh prospects for a nuclear deal. READ MORE

An Act of Cowardice

The terrorist attack against Iranian exiles at Camp Liberty, Iraq, is another sign of Iranian regime's weakness. READ MORE

Much atalk about nothing

In Istanbul they merely agreed to talk about talking later in May in Baghdad, of all places. READ MORE

An unholy alliance

The brutal state-imposed bloodbath in Syria deserves uncompromising reproach. READ MORE

Iran cries for freedom

The clerical regime in Iran has predictably unleashed another wave of terror against the citizenry since the outburst of the latest string of mass protests beginning on 14 February. READ MORE

A new Iran policy

The latest round of nuclear talks had an all-too-familiar result: more time for Tehran and less time for the international community to prevent a nuclear-armed theocracy. READ MORE

Murder overlooked

What would the rest of us do if a mad gunman was in our midst, systematically murdering our fellow human beings in front of our eyes? The responsible amongst us would not look the other way, because that would serve as a source of encouragement for the murderers to carry on with their heinous acts unchecked. READ MORE

Standing up to Iran's executioners

The Iranian regime's malicious noose has yet again taken an innocent life. Political prisoner Ali Saremi, 63, was hanged in Tehran's infamous Evin prison after a lifetime of peacefully espousing human rights and democracy. READ MORE