Iran says nuclear site can be inspected next month

Iranian officials said Tuesday that the United Nations nuclear watchdog can inspect Iran’s heavy-water facility at Arak within the next month.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, told Iran’s official Iranian Republic News Agency (IRNA) that the site could be inspected by Dec. 11, ahead of the next round of talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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“If Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency reach an agreement on details of the inspection, then the visit can take place through coordination with [Iran’s nuclear agency],” Kamalvandi said, according to IRNA.

Tehran and the IAEA reached an agreement on Monday that would allow inspectors to monitor more of the country’s nuclear sites, including at Arak.

The long-running negotiations between Iran and the IAEA are separate from the talks that fell through last week between Iran and the six world powers: the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Iran’s Arak heavy-water site has been a concern to the West — and was reportedly the reason France balked at the deal on the table last week — over the potential it could be used to build a plutonium-based nuclear weapon.

Monday’s deal with the IAEA did not include Iran’s Parchin military site, which the IAEA has also sought access to over suspicions Iran is concealing nuclear activity there.