IAEA chief: Iran ready to accept nuclear inspection

The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said his agency expects to sign a deal with Iran to allow an investigation of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

The May 22 announcement in Tehran by Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, came a day before representatives of the six world powers met in Baghdad to discuss uranium enrichment in Iran.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the West suspects Iran is working toward building a nuclear weapon. The West has concerns that Israel may launch a preemptive strike to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was skeptical of the apparent breakthrough and called on Iran to stop enriching uranium both to 3.5 percent and 20 percent.

“Israel believes that Iran should be set a clear bar, so that there is no ‘window or crack’ which the Iranians can [creep] through to advance their military nuclear program,” he said. “The requirements of the world powers must be clear and unequivocal.” — jta