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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

IAEA inspectors to arrive in Iran Thursday

RIA Novosti

25/07/2007 19:04 TEHRAN, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - Two UN nuclear watchdog monitors will arrive in the Iranian capital on Thursday morning to inspect the country's nuclear facilities, Iran's FARS news agency said Wednesday.

The agency said inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which holds such checks twice a month, will visit the Isfahan nuclear center in central Iran, and the nearby uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

The state-run agency said: "Despite intense propaganda by the U.S. and some EU countries, the regular visits of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to the Iranian nuclear sites and installations further illustrate Iran's transparent cooperation with the IAEA."

Iran has come under pressure for rejecting three consecutive UN resolutions against its nuclear program since last year. The six countries negotiating the dispute - the UN Security Council permanent members plus Germany - have demanded that Tehran suspend all uranium enrichment before negotiating a solution to the nuclear program, which Western powers suspect is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.

Iran insists that it needs nuclear power purely to generate electricity. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced early April the start of uranium enrichment on an industrial level.

In an attempt to avoid tougher sanctions that may follow the two sets already imposed by the Security Council for refusal to halt uranium enrichment, Tehran has boosted cooperation with the IAEA.

During talks in Vienna on July 24, Iran agreed to allow UN inspectors next week to visit a heavy-water reactor facility being constructed near the city of Arak, which could potentially produce weapons-grade plutonium once its construction is complete.

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