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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Atomic Chief Heads for Iran
VOA News
08 Jul 2003, 23:23 UTC

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog holds talks in Tehran Wednesday to persuade Iran to allow tougher inspections of nuclear sites.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei wants Iran to sign and implement an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The protocol would allow U.N. inspectors to carry out surprise inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Currently, Iran only allows pre-arranged inspections to sites it chooses to declare.

It is widely reported that Iran may seek an end to a voluntary international embargo on the sale of nuclear technology to Tehran in exchange for signing the new protocol.

Mr. ElBaradei told Reuters news agency Tuesday that he believes Iranian cooperation with his inspectors will lead to a lifting of the embargo.

Meanwhile, an Iranian opposition group says Tehran is trying to hide two facilities that could be used to build a nuclear weapons. The National Council of Resistance of Iran says one site is a uranium enrichment plant outside Tehran. Opposition officials say another facility is being built in central Iran to treat uranium and could be completed in two years.

Iran has fiercely denied U.S. allegations that it is using its atomic energy program as a cover for the development of nuclear weapons.

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