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UN nuclear agency wants to send mission to Iran

The UN nuclear agency, the IAEA, wants to send a high-level mission to Iran to investigate suspicions that the country may be working on nuclear weapons.

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The Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in Bushehr, southern Iran. The Russiian built and operated nuclear power station has taken 35 years to build due to a series of sanctions imposed by the United Nations. The move has satisfied International concerns that Iran were intending to produce a nuclear weapon, but the facility's uranium fuel will fall well below the enrichment level needed for weapons-grade uranium. (IIPA/Getty Images)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has proposed sending a special mission to Iran to gather information its nuclear program, Director-General Yukiya Amano said Thursday.

Amano has written to Iranian nuclear officials suggesting the visit and hopes a date will be set soon, he told a meeting of the IAEA board in Vienna, Austria.

The agency believes it has credible information that "Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device," according to Amano's statement.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful.

The watchdog has a duty to follow up the concerns it expressed about Iran in a recent report, Amano is cited by Reuters as saying:

"It is clear Iran has a case to answer. [...] It is my duty to alert the world."

His announcement came as details emerged of the IAEA's forthcoming resolution on Iran, which is said to have been softened as a concession to China and Russia.

More from GlobalPost: Obama urges Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao to support US pressure on Iran

According to a copy obtained by the Associated Press, the resolution expresses "deep and increasing concern" about the doubts over Iran's nuclear research, and Tehran's refusal to comply with IAEA requirements.

The AP said the final document is the result of a compromise between countries who want to sanction Iran and those that defend it:

Diplomats who spoke ahead of the meeting had said the US and its allies were ready to push through a tough document, before ceding to Russian and Chinese pressure and accepting a watered-down version that allows Iran to continue ignoring international demands.

The board is expected to vote on the resolution Friday.

Iran has accused the IAEA of serving US and Israeli interests by releasing its critical report. The government therefore feels it is necessary to "review Iran's cooperation with the agency," parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani is quoted as saying by Iran's Fars news agency.

More from GlobalPost: Iran is probably building a nuclear bomb. So what now?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/111117/un-nuclear-agency-wants-send-mission-iran