Head of United Nations nuclear watchdog in Iran to observe visit to suspected nuclear site

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to observe a visit by Iranian experts to a military site seen as central to the country’s nuclear program.

Speaking as the Iranian leader, Hassan Rouhani, toured an oil field in northern Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was heading to the country to conduct “spot checks,” which are conducted when U.N. inspectors are at the site.

Salehi, who is seen as part of the moderate wing of Iran’s clerical establishment, said there were no plans to issue a new IAEA report or present its findings to the public.

Iran has been drawing scrutiny for years over its nuclear program, which the West suspects is geared toward producing nuclear weapons, but which Tehran insists is aimed at generating electricity.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is holding out hope for a new deal with Iran that would remove most of the current sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations.

The United States and Iran say they are close to a deal to lift the sanctions on the Islamic Republic, but hardliners, represented by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are skeptical of that possibility.

On Tuesday, Khamenei said he would not sign off on a deal unless the United States lifts its sanctions and that “some observers are trying to sabotage” any accord, according to the official IRNA news agency.

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