Washington, Jan 4 (ANI): The Unites States has criticised Iran for inviting Russia, China and several European Union members to visit its nuclear facilities this month, while excluding America, and called it a "clever ploy" to divide the alliance of nations opposed to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"There's no invitation in our in-box," The New York Daily Times quoted the State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, as saying.
Referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with the Iranian government over its enrichment of uranium, Crowley, said: "It's a clever ploy, but it's not a substitute for Iran's responsibilities to the I.A.E.A."
"It won't draw international attention away from the issues regarding Iran's nuclear program," he added.
According to the European diplomats, the invitations are likely to be unaccepted, at least till the next round of negotiations that expected to be held in Istanbul at the end of this month.
They also said that Iran was offering access to sites at Natanz and Bushehr, as well as meetings with two top officials involved in the program: Ali Salehi, the acting foreign minister who oversees it, and Saeed Jalili, the chief nuclear negotiator.
"This is something that in principle could be interesting, but not before the next round of talks. This seems like Iranian tactics: they would like to put up a smokescreen and link things that can't be linked," a diplomat said. The United States has assembled a coalition to impose sanctions on Iran, unilaterally and through the United Nations. However, Russia and especially China still maintain commercial ties with Iran, and they have voiced reluctance about further tightening the economic vise on Tehran. (ANI)