Iran agrees to expanded monitoring of nuclear sites

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

File photo of the UN nuclear chief, Yukiya Amano
Image: International Students’ Committee.

Iran agreed on Monday to allow the United Nations (UN) increased access to nuclear facilities according to a government announcement on state television. UN monitors will gain access to a heavy water reactor still being built, as well as the largest uranium reactor in Iran.

The government announcement also stated that Iran would clarify its plans to build new uranium-enrichment facilities and technologies.

According to the UN nuclear chief, Yukiya Amano, the agreement will be put in place within the next three months. He said that Iran had agreed to "implement practical measures" to aid the UN inspectors.

This is the first deal that Iran has made with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 2007. The announcement came after talks between Iran and world leaders from the United States, France, China, Russia and Germany in Geneva, over the amount of access that the IAEA should have to Iranian nuclear sites. The negotiations stalled, but are set to resume next week.

The IAEA has been pushing to inspect Iran's nuclear facilities for a decade, currently having access to only 17. The Iranian government continues to assert that their nuclear program is peaceful, and wants the UN to lift sanctions.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in Parliament on Monday that "It's very important for the Iranian authorities to understand that the pressure will be there for greater sanctions... unless an agreement is reached on these matters."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius acknowledged that the agreement reached on Monday is a good sign for diplomacy, but also said that more work needed to be done. "We are not far from an agreement with the Iranians, but we are not there yet," he said on Europe 1 radio.