UN Inspectors in Iran for Nuclear Plant Visit
By VOA News
25 October 2009
United Nations nuclear inspectors are in Iran for a three-day visit to examine one of Iran's controversial uranium enrichment sites.
A four-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran early Sunday. Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reports the team toured the nuclear facility near Qom later in the day, but there was no immediate confirmation from the IAEA.
Iran acknowledged in September that it had been building this enrichment plant. Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, says Iran is allowing U.N. inspectors to visit the facility to prove the country's "good will" and to reassure the world community of its "peaceful nuclear activities."
Iran is still deliberating over a U.N.-backed proposal to allow Russia to enrich uranium for Iran to fuel a research reactor.
The deal, agreed to by Russia, the United States and France, is designed to prevent Iran from enriching uranium to the point that it can be used for nuclear weapons.
Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, says Iran will respond to the offer in the coming days.
On Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the plan during telephone calls with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The White House said the leaders affirmed their full support for the deal and discussed the importance of all parties accepting the program.
Also Saturday, Iran's parliament speaker criticized the proposal and accused Western powers of trying to "cheat" Iran and "impose" the deal on the country.
Ali Larijani told Iran's ISNA news agency that under IAEA rules, countries that have nuclear fuel are required to supply those nations in need of it.
The five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany will hold talks with Iran at the end of this month in Geneva.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
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