| Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (right) with British foreign secretary Jack Straw in Tehran. (AFP)
Tehran, June 30 (Reuters): Iran said today it would invite UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohammed ElBaradei to Tehran for talks shortly but rebuffed British calls for it to sign up immediately to tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month reprimanded Iran for its repeated failure to report on nuclear material, facilities and activities and called on it to sign a document allowing more intrusive, short-notice inspections of nuclear sites.
“Iran is going to invite ElBaradei soon to visit Iran to hold talks to remove technical problems,” Hassan Rohani, secretary general of the Supreme National Security Council, told visiting British foreign secretary Jack Straw, the official Irna news agency reported.
ElBaradei told an IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna earlier this month that IAEA officials intended to visit Iran “in a few weeks’ time” for technical discussions.
He said the agency was particularly interested in discussing the scale of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme.
Washington has accused Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity to meet growing demand.
Straw urged Iran to sign up to an IAEA additional protocol, permitting tougher inspections, mmediately and unconditionaly.
Failure to do so would damage international confidence in Iran and could jeopardise a possible trade agreement between Tehran and the EU, he said.
Iranian officials appeared unmoved by Straw’s warnings.
While saying they had not ruled out signing the additional protocol, they insisted Iran should also be allowed access to western technology to develop nuclear energy.