U.N. nuclear inspectors in Iran to visit Arak plant

(JTA) — Inspectors from the U.N.’s nuclear agency are in Iran to examine the Arak heavy water production plant.

The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit the plant on Monday, two days after they arrived in the country, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy organization, told Fars that the inspectors have been provided with information about the research being conducted at nuclear plants in Iran.

The inspection is being held based on an agreement signed in November between Iran and the IAEA.

On Saturday, Kamalvandi told the official Iranian state news agency IRNA that Iran is testing more technologically advanced centrifuges and that the IAEA had been informed of the effort.

The testing does not appear to violate the interim agreement signed recently by the Tehran government and world powers, according to Reuters, but it could enable Iran to refine uranium to weapons grade much faster.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told his Parliament last week that the Islamic Republic would continue to build the Arak heavy water plant reactor, which would contravene the deal under which Iran agreed to freeze some of its nuclear production in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

Monday’s visit is the second to Arak by IAEA inspectors since August 2011. The plant was to be home to a plutonium reactor; its production reportedly has been suspended.

Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes only, while the West believes the country wants to build nuclear weapons.

On Sunday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani slammed Israel and U.S. support for the Jewish state during an open session of parliament.

 

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