IAEA inspectors visit Iran's 2nd nuclear plant

October 25, 2009 10:43 pm 

TEHRAN, Oct. 26 — A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Iran's newly-disclosed uranium enrichment plant near Qom on Sunday, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

The IAEA inspectors, who arrived on early Sunday, are to stay in Iran until Tuesday and to visit Iran's second nuclear plant in different intervals, the report said.

Last month, Iran confirmed that it is building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near the central city of Qom. In reaction, the IAEA asked Tehran to provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

Leaders of the United States, France and Britain have condemned Iran's alleged deception to the international community involving covert activities in the new underground nuclear site.

At a meeting between Iran and top envoys from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Geneva, Switzerland, on Oct. 1, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili promised that Tehran would soon open the facility near Qom to UN inspectors.

Meanwhile, a proposal, presented by the IAEA on Wednesday, called for shipping most of Iran's existing low-grade enriched uranium to Russia and France, where it would be processed into fuel rods with a purity of 20 percent.

The higher-level enriched uranium would be transported back to Iran to be used in a research reactor in Tehran for the manufacture of medical radioisotopes.

"We are in fact working and elaborating on all details of this proposal, from technical aspect to other dimensions," Iran's representative to the IAEA Ali Soltanieh said on Friday in Tehran.

Iran itself is able to enrich the uranium with the purity of 20 percent but prefers to buy it abroad, Soltanieh reiterated.

The Iranian official said he would inform Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the IAEA, about Iran's evaluation next week.

The IAEA set Friday as the deadline for Iran to respond to the proposal. (PNA/Xinhua)

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