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10/03/09

Iran Criticizes US, Hosts UN Nuclear Watchdog

By VOA News

The head of the United Nations nuclear regulatory agency has arrived in Iran, hoping to open up a once-secret nuclear facility to inspectors.

But just hours before International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei landed in Tehran Saturday, Iran's president launched another defense of his country's actions.


ElBaradei arriving in Tehran

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran never tried to hide the existence of a nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom, instead accusing the United States of making a big mistake.

The U.S. and several allies contend Iran tried to keep the uranium enrichment facility a secret. And this week, ElBaradei said Iran "was on the wrong side of the law."

ElBaradei's visit comes two days after world powers demanded Iran give inspectors access to the facility. Iran has said it will comply with the demand.

Iranian officials made the concession after meeting with diplomats from six world powers in Geneva on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Geneva talks "inspire cautious optimism." But U.S. President Barack Obama said Iran must take concrete steps to prove its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Diplomats from Russia, China, Britain, France, the United States and Germany took part in Thursday's meeting.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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