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Nuclear inspectors arrive in Iran

UN nuclear inspectors have arrived in Iran in the latest push to hold talks on how far the country's controversial nuclear programme has come.

The trip is the second in less than a month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team, reflecting growing concerns over alleged weapons experiments - something Iran has so far both denied and refused to discuss.

Herman Nackaerts, a senior UN nuclear official, said in Vienna before the team departed that he hoped for progress in the talks - but his careful choice of words suggested little expectation that the meeting will be successful.

The West suspects that Iran's nuclear programme is geared towards making weapons, a charge Iran denies. Tehran insists it is for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation.

Iran's state TV said the IAEA team had arrived for a two-day visit. State radio said the inspectors hope to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and pay a visit to the Parchin military complex.

The radio said the IAEA requested to visit Parchin, an Iranian military base and conventional weapons development facility outside Tehran. The site has also been suspected of housing a secret underground facility used for Iran's nuclear programme, a claim denied by Iranian authorities.

IAEA inspectors visited the site in 2005, but only one of four areas of potential interest within the grounds. The nuclear watchdog did not report any unusual activities, and has not mentioned Parchin in its reports since 2008.

The radio said: "Whatever the reasoning of the agency is, it proves the IAEA is not loyal to its previous commitments."

The tone of the commentary suggested the visit to the military complex would probably be denied.

The IAEA visit comes after Iran announced what it described as key advancements in its nuclear programme, inserting the first domestically-made fuel rod into a research reactor in Tehran and installing a new generation of Iranian-made centrifuges at the country's main uranium enrichment facility in the central town of Natanz.

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