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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran bars 38 IAEA inspectors from entering country for nuke check

RIA Novosti

22/01/2007 16:01 TEHRAN, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Tehran has refused 38 experts from the UN nuclear watchdog permission to inspect the country's nuclear facilities, an Iranian information agency said Monday.

Iran has been at the center of international concerns since January 2006 over its nuclear program, which some countries suspect is a covert program to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran has consistently denied the claims, and says it needs nuclear power for civilian purposes.

"Our refusing entry to 38 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency is the first practical step to restrict cooperation with the agency in response to Resolution 1737, adopted by the UN Security Council," ISNA quoted a senior parliamentary official as saying.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737 on Iran December 23, which imposed sanctions on the country's nuclear weapons programs but allowed officials to make foreign trips and companies to do business abroad.

The resolution banned activities involving uranium enrichment, chemical reprocessing, heavy water-based projects, and production of nuclear weapons delivery systems.

Tehran responded to the resolution by saying it would review its cooperation with the IAEA, and Alaeddin Borujerdi, head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Iran had informed the IAEA, which is expected to file a report on Iran's nuclear program February 23, of its decision to ban the inspection.

Speaking in parliament last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the nuclear program would continue regardless of any resolutions against it.

"Even if the UN Security Council adopts a dozen resolutions, it will not keep us from exercising our legitimate right to peaceful nuclear energy."

ISNA reported last Wednesday that Iranian authorities had invited representatives of international organizations to visit its nuclear facilities February 2-5.

The agency cited Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative at the IAEA, as saying that the country had invited the envoys of three nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (Cuba, Malaysia and Egypt), the head of the Group of 77, a loose alliance of developing nations, representatives of the IAEA Board of Governors, and the permanent representative of the League of Arab States at international organizations in Vienna.

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