- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior Iranian diplomat said Iran denied entry into the country to a member of an International Atomic Energy Agency delegation this week, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Thursday.

The refusal came ahead of talks Tuesday and Wednesday in Iran between the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Tehran, aimed at reaching a lasting agreement with world powers on its contested nuclear program before a November deadline.

Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, was quoted by Fars as saying that Iran had a sovereign right to deny a visa to a delegation member. Najafi did not identify the person, but said he was not an IAEA inspector and had a “particular nationality.”

Iran in the past has refused to let in IAEA inspectors who have Western nationalities, repeatedly expressing concern about possible leaks of information about its nuclear facilities through agency sources.

Najafi called the two-day talks “very constructive, serious, content-based and honest,” and said another round could take place later this month. The IAEA delegation was headed by Tero Tapio Varjoranta, the agency’s deputy director-general and head of the department of safeguards.

The West suspects Iran’s nuclear program has military dimension. Iran denies the charge and says its nuclear activities are aimed for peaceful purposes like power generation and medical isotope research.


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