Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Iran says it will accept snap visits of its nuclear sites

AFP, TEHRAN

Iran’s top negotiator yesterday said that a nuclear proposal presented to major powers in Geneva does allow for snap inspections of the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities, correcting his earlier remarks.

“None of these issues exist in the first step, but they are part of our last step,” Abbas Araqchi was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

He was replying to a question about whether the application of the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows unannounced inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites, was included in the proposal.

Araqchi had on Tuesday been cited by IRNA as saying the implementation of the additional protocol “does not exist” in the offer.

The additional protocol allows reinforced and unannounced inspections of a country’s nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and requires that information be provided on all activities regarding the nuclear fuel cycle.

As it stands now, Iran is only obliged to inform the IAEA three months ahead of transferring fissile material into a nuclear site.

Iran, a signatory of the NPT, voluntarily implemented the additional protocol between 2003 and 2005, but ceased to apply it after its nuclear case was sent to the UN Security Council.

Last month, US Secretary of State John Kerry said acceptance of the additional protocol by Tehran would help to resolve Iran’s decade-long nuclear standoff.

Araqchi had on Tuesday given brief details of Iran’s nuclear offer.

He said that the first phase is expected to last six months. It is aimed at “restoring bilateral trust” and “avoiding measures which could aggravate the [political] climate.”

Both parties must also pledge to “address the immediate concerns” of the other side, and to resolve disputes through dialogue.

Araqchi said it would take “several rounds of negotiations” to reach an agreement.

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