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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Iran to visit newly-disclosed facility

25 October 2009 – Inspectors from the United Nations atomic watchdog have arrived in Iran to visit a recently-disclosed uranium enrichment facility.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was informed late last month by Iran about the construction of the plant, which is located in the city of Qom.

The visit was announced following talks between IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Iranian authorities in Tehran on 4 October, during which they discussed arrangements for the agency's access to the plant.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the facility violates Security Council resolutions because of the delay in its disclosure, and has repeated his call for Iran to implement Council resolutions and cooperate with the IAEA on resolving outstanding concerns regarding its nuclear programme.

Iran has stated that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend it is driven by military ambitions. The issue has been 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).

The visit comes as the Government is considering a draft agreement on fuel for its civilian nuclear research facility in Tehran, while the other three parties to the deal – France, Russia and the United States –have signaled their approval.

Iran informed Mr. ElBaradei that it is considering the proposal “in depth and in a favourable light,” but it needs a few more days to provide a response.

The Director General has voiced hope that if approved, the agreement will “open the way for a complete normalization of relations between Iran and the international community.”

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