U.N.-sponsored inspectors are expected to visit two Iranian facilities this week as part of an agreement with Tehran to explain its nuclear activities.
Citing Iran's semi-official IRNA news service, the Associated Press on Sunday reported that International Atomic Energy Agency personnel will be granted access to a uranium mine and a uranium-thickening facility in the towns of Ardakan and Yazd early this week.
"Following the visit, Iran will be able to say that seven agreed measures between Iran and the agency have [been] fulfilled," Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the country's atomic department, was quoted as saying. "Already six steps have been taken."
Among those steps is a requirement for Tehran to provide information about a program to develop explosive detonators of a type that can be used in nuclear weapons. According to the quasi-official ISNA news agency, Tehran has already supplied the requested data. Officials at the nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna, though, had no immediate knowledge of the issue on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Western officials fear that Iran's nuclear program could be used to develop atomic arms. Tehran has insisted its ambitions are aimed solely at power generation, medical uses and research.
Experts from Iran and six world powers are slated to meet in New York this week on the sidelines of a Preparatory Conference for next year's Review Conference on the status of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Associated Press reported separately on Monday. The side gathering serves to prepare for the next round of ministerial-level deliberations in Vienna in mid-May.
Envoys are eyeing a long-term deal to replace an interim agreement due to expire in July. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, are seeking assurances that Iran will be unable to fabricate nuclear arms. In return, Tehran stands to gain relief from international sanctions.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.