Friday, July 13, 2007

Can we all calm down, now?

The UN nuclear watchdog said today that Iran had agreed to lift its ban on inspectors visiting a controversial nuclear facility, and was ready to answer questions about its past plutonium experiments.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a deal had been reached on the designation of new inspectors, a visit of inspectors to the heavy water research reactor at Arak by the end of July, and the finalisation of safeguards at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant during early August. The plant is the focus of US concerns about Iran's nuclear programme.

Tehran insists it wants to develop an enrichment programme for peaceful purposes, but the US and EU fear it could enrich uranium for nuclear warheads.

Iran appears to have ceded ground following meetings this week between the IAEA deputy director, Olli Heinonen, Iran's deputy nuclear negotiator, Javad Vaaedi, and Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation.

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