Europe

EU spurns offer of Iran nuclear sites tour

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, file pic Image copyright AFP
Image caption Diplomats will be shown Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, reports say

The European Union plans to reject Iran's invitation for an EU ambassador to tour Iran's nuclear sites.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, said it was the job of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to examine Iran's nuclear sites.

Iran says it will open its nuclear facilities to envoys from several countries, including Russia and China, but not the US.

Many Western countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only.

"What I'll be saying is the role of the inspections of nuclear sites is for the IAEA and I do hope Iran will ensure that the IAEA is able to go and continue and fulfil its work," Baroness Ashton told Reuters news agency on Friday.

Earlier the US State Department dismissed Iran's offer of an inspection tour by diplomats as a "clever ploy".

The last such trip which Tehran arranged was in February 2007.

Iran said the visit would take place ahead of a second round of talks on its nuclear programme, scheduled for late January in Istanbul, Turkey, although no date has been confirmed.

Iran is set to hold talks with the five permanent UN Security Council members - the US, Russia, China, the UK and France - plus Germany.

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