IAEA denies 'sacking' Belgian inspector
11 July 2006, BRUSSELS — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has denied that Chris Charlier, the Belgian chief inspector for the Iranian nuclear programme, has been pushed to one side.
11 July 2006
BRUSSELS — The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has denied that Chris Charlier, the Belgian chief inspector for the Iranian nuclear programme, has been pushed to one side.
The denial came after a German newspaper reported on Sunday that Charlier had been removed from his post at the insistence of Iran. Belgian media then ran with the story also.
Charlier was quoted as saying that Iran had pressured the IAEA into sidelining him, claiming also that agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei personally intervened in the matter.
The Belgian is the head of a team of 17 inspectors that has been examining Iran's nuclear activities since 2003.
But an IAEA spokesman has denied he has been pushed aside. The agency stressed that Charlier still has the same function and leads the inspection mission.
However, it has been confirmed that Charlier has been barred entry to Iran since April and that the Iranian government is displeased with his activities.
The IAEA denied that it had yielded to Iranian pressure and said it regrets inaccurate media reports, news service VRT reported.
Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will meet with Iran's top negotiator on Tuesday. He is expected to press Tehran to accept a package of incentives aimed at halting its uranium enrichment programme.
Iran insists it will make no final decision before August, but the EU has said it expects a "substantial response" from the Brussels meeting. The US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has also urged Tehran to respond to the offer.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news