Fishing boats and oil tankers south of the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran is threatening to close. Kamran Jebreili/AP/Press Association Images

UN nuclear watchdog to visit Iran

The IAEA says it is heading to Iran next week to clear up “outstanding substantive issues” with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

THE UN’S NUCLEAR watchdog the IAEA is planning to send a senior team of officials to Iran next week in an effort to “resolve all outstanding substantive issues”.

The IAEA compiled a report on the country’s nuclear programme last September in which the agency said it had received credible information that Iran was covertly engaged in a nuclear weapons programme. The report prompted Iran’s President Ahmadinejad to label the agency an American pawn.

Tehran has denied any accusations that it engaged in the development of nuclear weapons and insists it is pursuing a nuclear energy production programme.

The IAEA team to Iran will be led by the organisation’s deputy director general for safeguards Herman Nackaerts and will visit from 29 to 31 January.

Director general of the IAEA Yukiya Amano said in a statement today that the “agency team is going to Iran in a constructive spirit, and we trust that Iran will work with us in that same spirit.”

EU members today agreed to formally adopt an oil embargo against Iran as part of ongoing sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Two of Iran’s legislators reacted to the embargo by increasing their threats that Iran would shut the Strait of Hormuz, though which a fifth of the world’s crude oil flows, according to the AP.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: EU agrees oil embargo against Iran over nuclear programme >

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