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Iran Should Agree to UN Nuclear Inspections, says Tehran Official - 2003-07-27

A senior Iranian official is suggesting his government should agree to short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities as a way to ease international concerns about the purpose of Tehran's nuclear program. In the meantime, the spokesman for Iran's nuclear program has reportedly resigned.

Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said he hopes his government will allow tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities, including short-notice inspections.

Mr. Salehi was responding to a question from the state-run newspaper, Iran, about whether Tehran should agree to international demands that it sign up to the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Mr. Salehi said a positive attitude toward the Additional Protocol would help Iran solve problems regarding its nuclear development program, which Tehran insists is designed only for the generation of electricity.

Washington has said it suspects Iran is secretly seeking to build nuclear weapons.

In June, the International Atomic Energy Agency identified what it said was a number of failures by Iran to adequately declare its nuclear activities.

Mr. Salehi said he hopes Tehran will adopt a proper and expedient policy before September's scheduled meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at which Iran's nuclear program will again be discussed.

By doing so, according to Mr. Salehi, it would help satisfy international concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

In the meantime, the spokesman for Iran's nuclear program says he has resigned from his post and that the resignation has been accepted. Khalil Mousavi gave no reason for his resignation. An Iranian news report said that Saber Zaenian has been named as Mr. Mousavi's replacement.