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1 Feb, 2012 08:46

IAEA fails to visit Iran nuclear sites, but talks ‘constructive’

Iran says it has held three days of “constructive talks” with inspectors from the UN's nuclear watchdog. However the IAEA inspectors tasked with verifying the peaceful nature of Iran’s atomic program did not visit any nuclear facilities.

According to the Iranian news agency Fars, recent talks with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency have been “constructive” and the two sides have agreed to continue the negotiations.  Fars said that the sides have set a date for continued talks, but did not elaborate. However the six IAEA inspectors, who arrived in Iran on Sunday, did not visit the country’s nuclear facilities, restricting their agenda to discussing technical and legal issues, Reuters news agency cited the Iranian television channel al Alam as saying. The West has recently stepped up economic sanctions against the Islamic state, suspecting it of developing nuclear weapons. In a recent development, EU member states agreed to implement an embargo on Iranian oil starting in July, and also to freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank. Iran, in turn, announced on Sunday that it would halt its oil exports to “some countries” but has postponed a parliamentary debate on the cancellation of oil exports to the European Union.  The US is beefing up its military presence in the Persian Gulf by sending a third aircraft carrier to the region. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern says people have been misled into thinking Iran is a clear and present danger. “If you look at the polls, 70 per cent of American people believe that Iran already has a nuclear weapon. That is exactly the same percentage of people in 2002 who were persuaded by what I call a phony corporate media to believe that Saddam Hussein was working on a nuclear weapon,” he said. “If the Iranians were working on a nuclear weapon, they would have to kick out UN inspectors. We would know that and they do not want that at all. They are not working on a nuclear weapon. They have not yet decided to do so.”