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Defiant Iran awaits inspectors

Vienna, Oct. 1 (Reuters): UN nuclear inspectors set off for Iran today as Tehran announced it would forge ahead with its controversial uranium enrichment programme in defiance of a resolution passed by the UN atomic watchdog.

Iran has until October 31 to give the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full picture of its nuclear programme. If it does not convince the IAEA the programme is peaceful, it will likely be reported to the Security Council and face sanctions.

The US, which has branded Iran part of an “axis of evil” with North Korea and pre-war Iraq, says that Iran’s enrichment programme is intended to purify uranium for use in an atomic bomb — a charge Iran vehemently denies.

“We’re going to start very important discussions with the top officials from Iran... We do expect that we will make a lot of progress,” team leader Pierre Goldschmidt of Belgium, the IAEA deputy director-general, told reporters before leaving.

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