Mission improbable as UN nuclear inspectors arrive to check up on Iran

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UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Iran yesterday in the latest push to hold talks about how far the country’s controversial nuclear programme has come.

The trip is the second in less than a month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team, reflecting growing concerns over alleged weapons experiments – something Iran has so far both denied and refused to discuss.

Herman Nackaerts, a senior UN nuclear official, said in Vienna before the team departed on Sunday that he hoped for progress in the talks but his careful choice of words suggested little expectation that the meeting would be successful.

The West suspects Iran’s nuclear programme is geared toward making weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Iran’s state TV said the IAEA team arrived early yesterday for a two-day visit.

State radio said the inspectors hope to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin military complex.

The radio said the IAEA requested to visit Parchin, an Iranian military base and conventional weapons development facility outside Tehran.

The site has also been suspected of housing a secret underground facility used for Iran’s nuclear programme, a claim denied by Iran.

The tone of the commentary suggested the visit to the military complex would probably be denied.