TEHRAN (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. nuclear agency arrived in Iran on Saturday for talks on a timetable for inspectors to visit a newly disclosed unfinished nuclear enrichment plant, state radio reported.
A senior Iranian nuclear official told Reuters that ElBaradei would discuss plans to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to visit the site, as demanded by world powers. He said ElBaradei would not visit any nuclear site.
Iran agreed with six powers in Geneva on Thursday to allow IAEA inspectors unfettered access to the plant, near the Shi’ite holy city of Qom, but did not set a time frame.
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**44-Update** Iran Agrees To Send Most Of Its Uranium To Russia
Iran’s agreement in principle to export most of its enriched uranium for processing — if it happens — would represent a major accomplishment for the West, reducing Iran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon quickly and buying more time for negotiations to bear fruit.
President Barack Obama’s strategy of engaging Iran finally got under way in earnest on Thursday with a positive response from Tehran to at least some of the concerns about its nuclear program. At a meeting in Geneva with officials from Western powers, Russia and China, Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili agreed to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect a hitherto secret uranium-enrichment facility under construction near Qum. President Obama and his allies expressed grave concern last week about the site after revelations of its existence, and they made the demand for its inspection a key benchmark of Iran’s willingness to cooperate in resolving questions about its nuclear intent.European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana announced that Iran had agreed to inspections at the site “in the next couple of weeks” and hailed the talks as “the start of what we hope will be an intensive process.” Further talks are expected to be held later this month.
Obama later called the talks a “constructive beginning” but insisted that Iran follow up with “constructive action” to prove its stated commitment to confine itself to peaceful nuclear development. “We’re not interested in talking for the sake of talking,” he said. “Pledges of cooperation must be fulfilled.”
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