Home > News > World
Wednesday January 29, 2014 MYT 8:30:01 PM
Wednesday January 29, 2014 MYT 8:31:09 PM
DUBAI (Reuters) - U.N. nuclear inspectors visited an Iranian uranium mine for the first time in nearly a decade on Wednesday, Iranian media reported, as Tehran gradually opens up its disputed nuclear programme to greater international scrutiny.
A three-member team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) went to the Gchine mine near the southern Gulf port city of Bandar Abbas, a spokesman for Iran's atomic energy organisation said. The IAEA was last there in 2005.
They "are now conducting their inspection," Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying on the web site of Press TV, Iran's English-language state television.
Allowing the U.N. nuclear agency - which is investigating suspicions that Iran may have carried out atomic bomb research - to go to Gchine was among six concrete steps Iran agreed to under a November 11 cooperation agreement with the IAEA.
The IAEA-Iran deal is separate from a November 24 breakthrough accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Iran's nuclear programme in return for a limited easing of sanctions that have battered its economy. That agreement took effect on January 20.
Both accords signalled a rapid improvement in Iran's troubled ties with the outside world, made possible by the June election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as president on a platform of ending Tehran's international isolation.
Going to Gchine would allow the IAEA to know the amount of uranium mined there, making it "harder for Iran to generate a secret stock of natural uranium", the U.S. Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said last month.
As the first step to be implemented under the Iran-IAEA agreement, U.N. inspectors went in December to the Arak heavy-water production facility, a plant that is linked to a nearby reactor under construction that the West fears could yield plutonium for nuclear bombs once operational.
The other measures concerned provision of information about nuclear facilities 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 programme and to ensure there is no diversion of atomic material for military purposes.
Iran says it is only refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants. But the same material can also provide the fissile core of an atomic bomb if enriched more.
The two sides will meet on February 8 to discuss future steps under the cooperation agreement, with the IAEA expected to press for more access and information related to its investigation into alleged nuclear weapon research by Iran. Tehran denies the accusations and says they are fabricated.
(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Iran acting to allow closer monitoring of nuclear programme
Iran to give U.N. inspectors more access to nuclear sites
Poland's speaker backs down from claim Putin proposed dividing Ukraine
Investors sceptical of Rousseff's options for Brazil finance chief
Iran arrests several spies near Bushehr nuclear plant - Fars news agency
Ukraine, Russia, EU energy chiefs meet to finalise gas deal
Poland says to appeal European Court ruling on CIA jail
Zambia's Sata to miss 50th independence anniversary
U.N. chief says moving ahead with Gaza war inquiry
IBM to pay Globalfoundries US$1.5bil to take chip unit
Russia on track for World Cup 2018, say FIFA inspectors
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)