UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Tehran

UN nuclear inspectors arrive in Tehran

PanARMENIAN.Net - A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Tehran on Saturday, Jan 18, another step towards implementing a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers which was finalized last week, Reuters reports.

The team, led by nuclear engineer Massimo Aparo, will begin reporting to the IAEA on Monday, marking the official start of the deal.

Under the terms of the agreement with the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, Iran will stop work on some portions of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some international sanctions which have damaged the country's economy.

The IAEA team will visit the Natanz and Fordow nuclear facilities to ensure that Iran will stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and that its stockpile of enriched uranium is diluted.

Last month, a number of hardline lawmakers introduced a bill in the Iranian parliament pushing for an increase of uranium enrichment up to 60 percent, ostensibly for use in nuclear submarines.

The bill was seen as a counter to a U.S. Senate bill to increase sanctions on Iran but has yet to be voted on in the Iranian parliament. If the bill passes it would likely sink the deal between Iran and six world powers.

Officials from Iran's Atomic Energy Organization met the IAEA team at the airport, and the two groups are scheduled to have meetings on Saturday, Iranian state-run news agency IRNA said.

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Iran's nuclear program

Iran's leaders have worked to pursue nuclear energy technology since the 1950s, spurred by the launch of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program. It made steady progress, with Western help, through the early 1970s. But concern over Iranian intentions followed by the upheaval of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 effectively ended outside assistance. Iran was known to be reviving its civilian nuclear programs during the 1990s, but revelations in 2002 and 2003 of clandestine research into fuel enrichment and conversion raised international concern that Iran's ambitions had metastasized beyond peaceful intent. Although Iran has consistently denied allegations it seeks to develop a bomb, the September 2009 revelation of a second uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom -constructed under the radar of international inspectors - deepened suspicion surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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