News / Middle East

    State TV: UN Nuclear Chief Expected to Visit Iran Next Week

    International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano attends a news conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2013.
    International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano attends a news conference at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 4, 2013.
    Reuters
    U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano is expected to visit Tehran on Nov. 11, Iranian state television said on Tuesday, a possible sign of progress in a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear arms research by Tehran.

    After years of worsening confrontation with the West, Iran has switched to a conciliatory mode - entailing diplomacy in search of a peaceful solution to its disputed nuclear activity - since the June election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

    The International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have held a series of fruitless meetings since early 2012 to agree ground rules for the IAEA's inquiry, but hopes for a breakthrough have been lifted by Rouhani's rise.

    The Islamic Republic denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants only civilian atomic energy.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's atomic energy organization, said he hoped the two sides would reach an agreement during Amano's visit, state television said on its web site, without giving details.

    There was no immediate comment from the IAEA, which wants access to sites, officials and documents in Iran, including the Parchin military base where it believes nuclear-related explosives tests might have taken place, possibly a decade ago.

    The IAEA's discussions with Iran are separate from broader negotiations between Tehran and six world powers that resumed in Geneva last month and will continue there on Nov. 7 and 8.

    But both diplomatic tracks center on suspicions that Iran may be seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons.

    If Amano's trip is confirmed, it would be his first visit to the Iranian capital since May 2012. That time, he returned saying he expected to sign a deal with Iran soon to unblock the agency's investigation, only to see it fail to materialize.

    New era?

    Rouhani has improved the diplomatic atmosphere since then, however, promising to try to resolve a decade-old international stalemate over Iran's nuclear program and secure an easing of sanctions severely damaging its oil-dependent economy.

    Iran says it is refining uranium only to fuel future nuclear power plants and an existing medical research reactor. But its refusal so far to curb sensitive nuclear work and lack of transparency with the IAEA have drawn harsh sanctions.

    After talks last week between senior IAEA and Iranian officials in Vienna, described by both sides as “very productive”, a new round was set for Nov. 11 in Tehran, but without any word on Amano possibly taking part.

    Salehi said he had invited Amano to visit on that day and that the IAEA director-general had expressed his “inclination” to do so, state television said.

    Salehi said he hoped that “we will reach an agreement in this trip” with the head of the Vienna-based U.N. agency and “issue a joint statement”.

    “The International Atomic Energy Agency has moved forward with a positive approach and as before we will continue to collaborate in a transparent manner and we are more than ever ready to cooperate with the agency,” Salehi told reporters on Tuesday, according to the state news agency IRNA.

    Iran said in last week's meeting in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, that it had put forward new proposals to the U.N. agency. A diplomatic source described the Iranian ideas as “potential confidence-building” measures but did not elaborate.

    Western experts say that Iran will probably only agree to fully cooperate with the IAEA's investigation as part of a broader settlement with the United States, France, Russia, China, Britain and Germany that wins it sanctions relief.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora