IAEA Team Heading to Iran Soon

A team headed by Deputy Director General for Safeguards Herman Nackaerts is scheduled to visit Iran around the end of January, IAEA Director Yukiya Amano told diplomats Jan. 19 at the organization's Vienna, Austria, headquarters.

An International Atomic Energy Agency team headed by Deputy Director General for Safeguards Herman Nackaerts is scheduled to visit Iran around the end of January, IAEA Director Yukiya Amano told diplomats Jan. 19 at the organization's Vienna, Austria, headquarters. Outlining IAEA's 2012 goals, Amano said his key priority this year will be "to try to make progress towards restoring international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. This is the most important of the major safeguards issues on our agenda," he added.

"I am fully committed to working constructively with Iran, and I trust that Iran will approach our forthcoming discussions in an equally constructive spirit," Amano said.

He also said restoring confidence in the safety of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis last March is a priority for this year. "The nuclear world has undergone some dramatic changes," said Amano, adding that the accident had a "significant impact on the agency's work, and we will be dealing with its consequences for years to come. The agency intends to play its part in restoring confidence in the safety of nuclear power by helping to ensure that nuclear safety is more robust after Fukushima than before."

He said worldwide use of nuclear power will continue to grow in the coming decades, but more slowly than previously projected. Assisting countries that are adding it now will remain a high priority, he said. Amano took office two years ago with a strong pledge to nuclear non-proliferation. He said the demand for IAEA's services in all areas is rising, and he is counting on member states to ensure the agency has sufficient resources to do its job.

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