Vienna (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said that a breakthrough pact with Iran is in the making that would allow the UN agency to resume inspections into suspected secret atomic weapons work. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano spoke today following a visit to Iran. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi welcomed the new "balanced approach toward all IAEA member states," defending their right to "the peaceful exploitation of nuclear energy".
Amano said differences still existed on "some details," but he expected the "almost clean text" to be signed soon. His announcement comes on the eve of a meeting tomorrow in Baghdad between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the Security council-United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France- plus Germany).
If signed, the deal will bring to an end the long confrontation between Iran and Western powers that led to sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Any agreement will also include the Parchin military complex (pictured) southeast of Tehran.
Iran has denied IAEA inspectors access to Parchin, which it has always described as a conventional military site. However, the UN agency believes Iran conducted nuclear weapon tests at the compound.
Meanwhile, the US senate approved a bill to tighten sanctions against Iran, targeting its oil sector, the country's main source of revenue.
Washington still wants Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, which Americans and Israelis see as a step towards building a nuclear weapon.
"Iran wants to destroy Israel and it is developing nuclear weapons to fulfill that goal," Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said.
"Against this malicious intention, leading world powers need to display determination and not weakness. They should not make any concessions to Iran," he added.