UN Inspectors Visit Iran’s Arak Heavy-Water Plant

UN Inspectors Visit Iran’s Arak Heavy-Water Plant

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are now conducting an inspection of the country’s Arak heavy-water production plant.

Inspection of Arak nuclear facilities is in progress, and will continue until this evening, Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Saunday, December 8.

The IAEA inspectors arrived in Iran on Saturday after the country issued the necessary permission for the UN nuclear watchdog's inspection of its Arak heavy- water production plant.

The move is believed to be the first concrete step under a cooperation agreement signed last month between the Vienna-based UN agency and Iran to dispel concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Kamalvandi also noted that an exact date and the process for the IAEA’s inspection of Iran’s Gachin uranium mine will be discussed in an upcoming meeting between representatives of Iran and the UN nuclear agency on Wednesday in Vienna.

Under the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, Iran is not obliged to allow such inspections but Tehran has, on a voluntary basis, agreed to allow the agency's inspectors access to the Arak facility as well as the Gachin uranium mine in Bandar Abbas in southern Iran.

Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA, had announced earlier that his organization was looking into how the agreement between Iran and six world powers to rstrict Tehran’s nuclear activity during the six-month framework could be “put into practice”, given the UN agency’s role in verifying the deal.

The IAEA plans to expand its monitoring of Iran’s uranium enrichment sites and other facilities under the interim accord, reached after marathon talks between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, on November 24. Iran has agreed to limit uranium enrichment and allow for more inspection of its enrichment and other related facilities in exchange for minor relief from UN and Western sanctions.

Tehran has agreed to the most intrusive inspection and monitoring regime ever imposed on a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), as it will allow the IAEA to inspect daily its facilities in Natanz and Fordow. For the first time, the country would also allow inspection and monitoring of its centrifuge manufacturing facilities and its uranium mines and mills.

The Arak facility produces heavy water intended for use in a nearby research reactor that is under construction. As part of its agreement with the powers, Iran is to halt installation work at the reactor and stop making fuel for it.

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