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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN nuclear watchdog seeking access to new Iranian fuel enrichment plant

25 September 2009 – The United Nations nuclear watchdog said today it is seeking information and access to a new fuel enrichment plant that Iran says it is building.

Marc Vidricaire, a spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Iran informed the Vienna-based body in a letter on 21 September that a new plant is under construction, and that further information will be provided in ‘an appropriate and due time.’

“The IAEA has requested Iran to provide specific information and access to the facility as soon as possible,” said Mr. Vidricaire.

“This will allow the Agency to assess safeguards verification requirements for the facility.”

He added that the IAEA understands from Iran that no nuclear material has been introduced into the facility.

Iran’s nuclear programme – which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions – has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Director General Mohamed ElBaradei recently warned that the IAEA has reached a deadlock with Iran over most aspects of its nuclear programme, and urged the country to credibly answer the international community’s concerns over potential military dimensions to the programme.

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