Ali Asghar Soltanieh

Iran says it is prepared to address the concerns of Western countries through diplomatic talks.

Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, called on Western powers to return to the negotiating table, adding: “If you have any questions, we are ready to answer.”
He added that despite all the international sanctions, Iran’s nuclear program has continued to advance and has even made several breakthroughs because the program does not rely on any imports.

The Iranian envoy to the IAEA said the sanctions have no impact on Iran’s centrifuges. “However,” he added, “they affect the lives of the Iranian people.”

International sanctions on Iran have intensified since the latest IAEA report indicated that the agency cannot be certain that Iran’s nuclear program has no military component.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, who was responding to direct questions from BBC radio listeners, said Iran has never denied any official request from the IAEA to visit its nuclear facilities. He added: “The agency inspectors are in Iran almost every day, and 24-hour cameras [at Iran’s nuclear facilities] have all activities under surveillance.”

Last month, a high-ranking IAEA delegation visited Iran and, upon return, reported that its request to visit a specific military base had been turned down by Iranian authorities.

Soltanieh said, however, that the IAEA envoys were in Iran to discuss the framework of future talks. He added that they were not IAEA inspectors, and the request to visit Parchin Base had not been on their agenda.

He said a request to visit a state’s military facilities on one day’s notice is unacceptable.

He went on to say that, in fact, Parchin Military Base was inspected twice by IAEA representatives in 2005. Soltanieh told BBC listeners that, incidentally, he had accompanied that IAEA delegation, which he said was given unrestricted access to all parts of the military site.

Sotanieh added that the site was fully inspected and Mohammad Al-Baradei, the head of IAEA at the time, reported that no sign of nuclear activity was found on this base.