|Iran, UN nuclear agency to meet again on Jan. 21||
TEHRAN – Iran and the UN nuclear agency have agreed to meet again on January 21 in Tehran, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said after talks on Wednesday between Tehran and the IAEA.
Ambassador Reza Najafi also said, “A positive atmosphere has been created between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Reuters also quoted the Iranian envoy as saying before the Wednesday talks that Iran will set a date for a UN nuclear inspection of the Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas.
Under a cooperation pact signed last month on Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran would provide “managed access” to the Gachin mine by early February for the first time in some eight years.
The IAEA-Iran agreement is separate from a breakthrough accord between Iran and six world powers reached on November 24 to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions.
But both deals signaled a rapid thaw in Iran’s troubled ties with the West, made possible by the election of a moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as president on a platform of improving Iran’s relations with other countries.
Iran has moved quickly since Rouhani took office in August to improve relations with the West.
Allowing the UN nuclear agency to go to Gachin was among six concrete steps Iran agreed to under the November 11 cooperation agreement with the IAEA.
As the first step to be implemented, UN inspectors went to the Arak heavy water production facility on Sunday, a plant that is linked to a nearby reactor under construction.
The other measures to be carried out within three months concerned provision of information about uranium enrichment plants and research reactors Iran has said it plans to build.
The IAEA says it needs such access and data to gain a better understanding of Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran says it is only refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants.
Najafi said Wednesday’s meeting with the IAEA would also discuss practical measures under the next phase of the cooperation deal, but he did not specify what they might be.
Going to the Gachin mine would allow the UN agency to know the amount of natural uranium mined there, the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said.
The mine is believed to have reserves of around 40 tons of uranium.
Iran has said its mines can supply the uranium ore needed for its nuclear program and that it has no shortage problems.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader