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Iran Says Open to Parchin Visit If Rights Recognized

Iran reiterated its readiness to allow nuclear inspectors to visit the Parchin military site if the Persian Gulf nation’s right to enrich uranium is acknowledged by world powers.

“We are prepared to come to a comprehensive agreement” with the International Atomic Energy Agency in which Iran’s rights as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would be “fully endorsed and recognized,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters today.

The deal “would include the removal of concerns, and the visit of the Parchin military site could be one of these agreements,” Mehmanparast said in Tehran.

Mehmanparast’s comments come before a visit tomorrow by an IAEA team seeking broader access to suspected nuclear facilities. The two sides met in Tehran in January, when Iranian officials didn’t allow the UN atomic watchdog to visit Parchin.

The IAEA says it has received intelligence that Iran carried out nuclear work at Parchin. Iranian officials say the evidence given to the agency by unidentified countries isn’t genuine, and say they haven’t been given access to the documents.

Uranium Enrichment

The U.S. and its allies say Iran may seek to make a nuclear bomb, while Iran says it’s pursuing a civil program designed to secure energy. IAEA officials routinely inspect Iran’s declared nuclear facilities, including enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordo, though treaty arrangements don’t compel the country to open up peripheral facilities.

Mehmanparast also confirmed reports that Iran continues to convert uranium enriched at 20 percent purity level to fuel for use in its Tehran Research Reactor, which it says is used to produce medical isotopes for cancer treatment. Mehmanparast said “the work is being carried out and complete reports have been handed to the IAEA.”

Iran has used about 42 percent of its uranium stockpile to make fuel plates for the research reactor, the IAEA said in November. Turning the uranium into metal renders it more difficult to enrich into weapons material.

Iran will also resume stalled multilateral discussions on its nuclear program with the U.S., U.K. France, Germany, Russia and China on Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan. The last round of negotiations between Iran and the group, known as P5+1, were held in Moscow in June and failed to yield results with world powers asking Iran to suspend production of 20 percent enriched uranium while the Islamic republic pressed for relief from financial and trade sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

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