UN experts go to Iran, hope to restart nuke probe

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VIENNA — International Atomic Energy Agency investigators trying for more than a year to restart a probe into Iran’s alleged work on nuclear arms left for Tehran on a trip that sets the stage for separate talks between six world powers and the Islamic Republic.

Iran insists it has never tried to develop nuclear arms. Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said a religious decree issued by Iran’s supreme leader banning nuclear weapons is binding for the Iranian government, suggesting the edict should be enough to end the debate over whether Tehran is pursuing atomic arms.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, said last year that Tehran is not seeking atomic arms. He called possessing such weapons a “sin” as well as “useless, harmful and dangerous.”

But Washington and dozens of other countries accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons — an allegation the Vienna-based IAEA is trying to investigate.

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