UN nuclear Inspector visits Tehran to clear up “outstanding substantive issues” on Tehran’s atomic programme; Israeli military: A drone that can fly as far as Iran has crashed in central Israel
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  • (January 23-29)

    According to reports, the UN’s chief nuclear inspector arrived in Iran on a mission to clear up “outstanding substantive issues” on Tehran’s atomic programme, and called for dialogue with the Islamic state. Before departing from Vienna airport, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Herman Nackaerts told reporters that talks were long overdue. He stated, “we are trying to resolve all the outstanding issues with Iran.” He also added that “in particular we hope that Iran will engage with us on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme.” The team also includes IAEA number two Rafael Grossi, an Argentine, and the watchdog’s senior legal official Peri Lynne Johnson, a US citizen, according to diplomats. Expectations are low, with the delegation not expected to be given access to any sites mentioned in a damning IAEA report in November that raised suspicions Iran had done work developing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated, “we have always had a broad and close cooperation with the agency and we have always maintained transparency as one of our principles working with the agency.” 1

    In another development, according to reports, the Israeli military has said that a drone that can fly as far as Iran has crashed in central Israel on a routine experimental flight. According to the military there were no injuries in crash, and it was investigating the incident. The Heron TP drone is also known locally as the Eitan. It has a wingspan of 86 feet (26 meters), making it the size of a Boeing 737 passenger jet. It is the largest unmanned aircraft in Israel’s military arsenal. The drone figures to be featured prominently in any potential Israeli operation against Iran and its expanding nuclear program. Heron TP could provide surveillance, jam enemy communications and connect ground control and manned air force planes. 2