AFP: A top UN nuclear official was greeted by a furious personal attack from a hardline Iranian daily as he arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks about claims Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
TEHRAN (AFP) — A top UN nuclear official was greeted by a furious personal attack from a hardline Iranian daily as he arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks about claims Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.
Olli Heinonen, the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) deputy director general, is to hold talks over allegations Iran may have been studying how to make a nuclear weapon, the Vienna-based watchdog has said.
He arrived at the head of an IAEA delegation in the morning and was to start talks in the afternoon with Iran's deputy national security chief Javad Vaeedi, the state broadcaster reported.
But in a sign of the sensitivity of the talks, Iran's leading hardline daily Kayhan launched a withering onslaught against Heinonen and his intentions.
"This trip is to complete a joint Israeli-US trick to provide phoney proof on Iran's nuclear activities," said an editorial signed by chief editor Hossein Shariatmadari, who is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In a closed-door briefing to diplomats at IAEA headquarters in Vienna on February 25, Heinonen presented detailed evidence suggesting that Iran could have been studying how to use its nuclear technology to make a warhead.
Western diplomats present at the meeting subsequently said the new evidence of alleged "weaponization studies" was troubling.
Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and aimed solely at generating energy, at the time furiously denounced the claims.
"It is like a ridiculous play," fumed Kayhan.
"He (Heinonen) opened the first act at the (IAEA) board of governors, in a play written by Israel and directed by the United States.
"And now during his trip here he will perform the second act. What is surprising is why our officials agreed to his trip."
Heinonen is reported to have said the evidence had three sources — the IAEA's own research, information handed over by member states including Iran's arch foe the United States and procurement documents.
The official IRNA news agency quoted an informed Iranian source as saying that for Tehran the issue of the alleged weaponization studies is "finished" and its assessment has already been handed to the IAEA.
"Iran is doing this negotiation to show its goodwill," the source was quoted as saying.