UN inspectors to visit Iran uranium mine

UN inspectors are expected to visit the uranium mine by 29 January.

UN inspectors are expected to visit the uranium mine by 29 January. Picture: AFP.

ANKARA - UN nuclear inspectors will soon visit an Iranian uranium mine for the first time since 2005 as part of Tehran's agreement to open its disputed nuclear programme to greater scrutiny, state television reported on Friday.

"Based on our agreement with the agency (IAEA), their inspectors will visit the Gachin mine in southern part of the country on 29 January," Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, was quoted as saying.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency had no immediate comment. It previously said it wanted to visit the Gachin mine uranium mine to acquire a better understanding of the nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

The West suspects Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons capability behind the screen of a declared civilian atomic energy programme. The Islamic Republic denies this.

Iran and the IAEA struck a cooperation pact in November entailing six initial steps to be taken by Tehran over the following three months including provision of access to two nuclear-related facilities and relevant information.

Iran's deal with the UN nuclear watchdog is separate from but complementary to its 24 November interim reached with world powers in Geneva under which it is to curb some atomic activity in return for some easing of economic sanctions.

That accord is to go into effect on 20 January.