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Iran envoy set for talks with UN nuclear chief PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 April 2008

The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation is to travel to Vienna on Monday for talks with the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, the official IRNA news agency said, reports AFP.

"Gholamreza Aghazadeh will travel to Vienna on Monday for talks with Mohamed ElBaradei," it reported on Saturday.

The visit comes after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked an angry international reaction on Tuesday with the announcement that Iran was working to install 6,000 more centrifuges at its Natanz uranium enrichment plant.

Western governments warned Tehran that it faced further sanctions if it continues to expand its nuclear programme, which they fear is cover for a drive to develop an atomic weapon.

But Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and aimed solely at generating energy for a growing population whose supply of fossil fuels will eventually run out.

Iran says that it will discuss its nuclear programme only with the UN watchdog-the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It insists there is no basis for involvement by the UN Security Council, which has already imposed three sets of sanctions over Iran''s failure to heed repeated ultimatums to suspend uranium enrichment.

Report from Washington adds: Recent violence in Basra has convinced the administration of President George W. Bush that Iran and not Al-Qaeda is now the primary threat to US interests in Iraq, The Washington Post said Saturday.

Citing unnamed senior US officials, the newspaper said this view has sparked a broad reassessment of Washington''s policy in the region and prompted Defense Secretary Robert Gates to speak about Tehran''s "malign" influence there.

During their Washington visit, General David Petraeus, the top US military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker barely mentioned Al-Qaeda in Iraq but spoke extensively of Iran, the paper said.

With "Al-Qaeda in retreat and disarray" in Iraq "we see other obstacles that were under the waterline more clearly .. The Iranian- armed militias are now the biggest threat to internal order," the Post quoted one official as saying.

As a result of this new approach, the administration has initiated an inter-agency assessment of what is known about Iranian activities and intentions and how to combat them, the report said.

President Bush for his part reiterated, in an interview with ABC News, that if Iran continues to help militias in Iraq, "then we''ll deal with them."

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