Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Iran Pledges New Steps in U.N. Nuclear Probe
Iran said it would supply new details for a U.N. investigation into claims that it once pursued nuclear-bomb research, the Associated Press reports.
A seven-part plan finalized over the weekend calls for Iran to offer "information and explanations" that would help the International Atomic Energy Agency evaluate the Middle Eastern nation's justification for working on "exploding bridgewire detonators," which can be used in initiating nuclear blasts. Tehran has long denied that its pursuit of such technologies was intended for weaponizing its peaceful nuclear program.
Tehran on Sunday also agreed to provide additional information on its unfinished Arak heavy-water reactor, and to work toward an inspection arrangement for the facility. Washington and its allies are concerned about the site's capacity to generate nuclear-arms plutonium.
Iran's agreement with the U.N. organization permits new international scrutiny of uranium-mining operations close to the city of Yazd, and of a facility that previously hosted laser uranium-enrichment experiments, the New York Times reported. The Vienna-based agency is also set to gain "managed access" to a uranium "yellowcake" production site in the town of Ardakan.
Still, the deal sidestepped significant priorities for the agency probe, including IAEA calls for access to Iran's Parchin armed forces base. The country is alleged to have carried out experiments relevant to nuclear-bomb development at the Parchin complex.
"This is the first step that is taking place now," Agence France-Presse quoted IAEA safeguards chief Tero Varjoranta as saying on Monday.
"There are still a lot of outstanding issues," he said in remarks reported by Reuters. "We will address them all in due course."
While negotiation of the new arrangement was still under way, envoys said Iran appeared willing to respond to the U.N. agency's concerns, AP reported. However, the insiders said they expected the IAEA investigation to proceed only in small steps.
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