January 15, 2011
TEHRAN — Iran opened the doors of its two atomic facilities to foreign diplomats Saturday, in a rare move to drum up support just days before talks with world powers about its sensitive nuclear programme.
The two-day tour to the heavy water installation in Arak and the main uranium enrichment facility at Natanz — both located in central Iran — was snubbed by Tehran’s key allies China and Russia, as well as the European Union.
Iran had invited several envoys to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as Hungary, the holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, to take part in the tour.
However, the United States, Britain, France and Germany were not invited, according to diplomatic sources.
“The NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) troika, the Group of 77 members, the Arab League, Syria, Venezuela and Oman, are participating in the visit,” Iran’s IAEA envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told state media.