Middle East News
Iran delivers message to EU, allows IAEA inspectors visit (Roundup)
Aug 5, 2008, 13:57 GMT
Tehran - Iran on Tuesday delivered a message to the European Union in Brussels and allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send an inspection team to Tehran, ISNA news agency reported.
An unnamed Iranian official confirmed that a message was delivered to the EU officials in Brussels through Iranian ambassador Ali-Asghar Khaji but said that the message was not, as initially reported by the local media, a reply to the world powers offer.
The official told ISNA that the delivered message was just the text of Sunday's phone contact between EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili.
So far phone contacts between Solana and Jalili - and his predecessor Ali Larijani - have never been forwarded by Iran to the EU side or at least never reported by the local state media.
The official added that Iran and the 5+1 (five United Nations veto powers plus Germany) would continue their talks upon previous agreements reached between the two sides.
Tehran insists that there has been no deadline by the 5+1 for Iran to deliver a clear response to the world powers' offer and just wants the talks to be continued and settled through both the 5+1 and Iranian proposals.
ISNA further reported that IAEA chief inspector Olli Heinonen will come to Tehran on Thursday for a three-day visit for holding talks with Iranian officials on behalf of IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
ISNA did not say whether Heinonen and his team would inspect nuclear sites in Iran.
Fars news agency had earlier Tuesday reported that Iran has presented its reply to an offer by world powers to resolve the dispute over its nuclear activities.
The offer by the five United Nations veto powers plus Germany is for far-reaching economic cooperation with Iran, including the field of civilian-sector nuclear power, in return for a pledge by Tehran to refrain from uranium enrichment activities.
On Monday, the United States warned that Iran would face new Security Council sanctions if it did not accept the offer of fresh talks and incentives.
The Security Council's five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the US - plus Germany were united in their threat to slap additional economic and diplomatic sanctions on Iran if its reaction to the new offer was not positive, US State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.
Iran met with a delegation of the permanent Security Council members plus Germany on July 19 in Geneva.
Meanwhile the commander of the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards on Monday reiterated his warning that if Iranian nuclear sites were attacked by either the US or Israel, Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz for an unlimited time period.
General Mohammad-Ali Jafari has several times warned in recent months that Iran would use all possible options if militarily attacked, including a blockade of the main oil routes in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
A major part of regional oil exports are piped through the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, and a blockade could trigger a worldwide energy crisis.