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Iran To Allow Inspectors To Visit Uranium Plant

Iran will allow U.N. nuclear inspectors to visit its second uranium enrichment plant.

The concession, announced Thursday after a meeting in Geneva between representatives from Iran and major world powers, paved the way for a second meeting aimed at ending the Islamic Republic’s isolation in exchange for proof that it does not have a nuclear weapons program.

The EU representative at the meeting, Javier Solana, said the sides had yet to set a date for the inspection by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, but it would be soon.

Iran’s revelation last week of of a uranium enrichment plant at Qom, in addition to its known enrichment center at Natanz, intensified calls in the United States and Europe for punishing sanctions on Iran. Iran revealed the existence of the Qom reactor just as Western powers were about to confront it with intelligence showing such a plant was in place.

In another agreement, the major powers at the meeting – the United States, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain – agreed to allow Iran to export some low-grade uranium for further enrichment, and then to reimport it for medical purposes.

In a first, top Iranian and U.S. officials met bilaterally during the meeting: William Burns, the top Middle East affairs official at the the U.S. State Department, met in private with Saeed Jalili, the top Iranian negotiator.

Separately, Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, visited Washington – the first such visit since 1998. Mottaki was visiting staffers at the Iranian interest section at the Pakistani Embassy. Iran and the United States do not have diplomatic relations.

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