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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Iran

RIA Novosti

25/10/200904:21

MOSCOW, October 25 (RIA Novosti) - Four UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Iran early on Sunday to inspect the country's second uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Iran's official IRNA news agency earlier said the delegation from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), would spend two or three days in Iran, starting its inspections on Sunday.

Iran announced in September that it was building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near the holy city of Qom, some 100 kilometers (65 miles) south of Tehran.

The announcement has fueled fresh concerns that Iran could conduct covert uranium enrichment activities, and the IAEA demanded that Tehran provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

At a meeting between Iranian officials and Iran-Six envoys from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Geneva on October 1, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili promised that Tehran would soon open the facility near Qom to UN inspectors.

The inspection comes three days after talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on the supply of nuclear fuel for a research reactor in Tehran. The Vienna talks, aimed at easing international suspicions of a covert Iranian atomic weapons program, involved Iran, the UN, the U.S., Russia and France.

Russia, France and the United States on Friday formally approved a package of IAEA, which involves Iran shipping 1.2 tons of low enriched uranium to Russia, where it would be enriched and sent on to France for processing into fuel rods.

The complex arrangement is necessary because only France produces fuel rods that will fit the Iranian research reactor, built in Tehran by Argentinean experts using French technology.

Iran asked on Friday for more time to assess the deal, as some senior politicians have spoken out against the plan.

Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.

The Islamic Republic has consistently denied it is seeking to make nuclear weapons, but has insisted on its right to a peaceful program aimed at generating electricity.



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