|IAEA experts inspect Arak nuclear plant||
TEHRAN – International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited the Arak heavy water production plant on Sunday.
The inspection was carried out as part of a joint statement that Iran and the UN nuclear agency signed on further cooperation on Tehran’s nuclear activities in the Iranian capital on November 11.
The joint statement represents a roadmap that specifies bilateral steps in regard to the outstanding issues.
Under the agreement, Iran would allow the agency’s inspectors to visit two more nuclear sites, the Arak heavy water site and the Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas in southern Iran.
According to Iranian officials, Iran has no commitments based on the safeguards agreement to allow such inspections, but it agreed to do so to show the country’s will to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program.
It was the first time in more than two years that the UN nuclear agency had been allowed to go to the Arak heavy water production plant, which is designed to supply a research reactor under construction nearby.
“The inspectors will go back to Vienna tonight,” Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told ISNA on Sunday.
Asked about the timing of the inspection of the Gachin uranium mine, Kamalvandi said, “We have not gone into details yet. But there is a strong possibility that it will be discussed in Vienna.”
Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are scheduled to hold expert-level talks in Vienna on Monday and Tuesday. Iran will also hold a meeting with IAEA experts on Wednesday.
The Iran-IAEA discussions are separate from, but closely linked to, negotiations between Tehran and six world powers which reached a historic deal in Geneva on November 24. Under the interim agreement, Tehran will offer some concessions on its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from the sanctions.
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