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Iranian students hold protests against visit of UN nuclear inspection team, agency reports
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ' Iranian students staged a silent gathering Tuesday to protest a visit by U.N. nuclear inspectors on their first visit in two years, the semiofficial Isna news agency reported.
The report said a group of students gathered at the gate of the country's atomic agency. It did not say how many participated in the brief protest.
The findings from the visit could influence Western efforts to enact further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. and its allies charge that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons by using its uranium enrichment facilities to produce weapons-grade material.
Iran has declined to abandon its enrichment labs, saying it seeks to operate the reactors only for energy and medical purposes.
The semiofficial Fars news agency reported that negotiations between the inspectors and Iran ended in a "positive and constructive atmosphere" and there would be more talks in the future. On Monday, Iran indicated the visit could be extended if necessary, but the Fars report indicated the three-day mission was ending Tuesday on schedule.
The demonstrating students said they're worried the visit would lead to assassination of Iranian nuclear experts.
They charged that U.S. and Israeli agents used information leaked by the U.N. agency to target Iranian nuclear scientists.
On Sunday about a dozen Iranian hard-liners carrying pictures of slain nuclear expert Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan gathered at Tehran airport to protest the visit. Roshan was killed by blast earlier in this month.
Also Tuesday, Mohammad Karamirad, a member of the influential parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, told Isna that the visit by the three-member International Atomic Energy Agency team showed Iran has had "comprehensive and honest cooperation with the agency."
Karamirad said, "The visit can be beginning of new round of talks with the West, and it proves the peacefulness of Iran's nuclear activities."
Iran has been trying to display cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency team and downplay expectations of a confrontational atmosphere during the visit, which began Sunday.