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Iran: Snap inspections can start

By CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty


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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Iran says it is officially notifying the International Atomic Energy Agency Monday that it will allow snap inspections of its nuclear sites as well as stopping uranium enrichment.

Hasan Rowhani, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, made the statement during a visit to Moscow.

He was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying before a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Rowhani: "Before your government, I officially announce that we are today giving the International Atomic Energy Agency a letter which agrees with the additional protocol. ... From today we are temporarily suspending our process of uranium enrichment."

The protocol referred to is an additional agreement with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which allows international inspectors to carry out unannounced inspections of Iran's nuclear program.

The statement was the first time Iran has said specifically when it would take both steps.

Putin said: "In this regard, I see no obstacles to cooperation with Iran in the nuclear area."

Russia has been helping Iran to complete construction of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr but has recently slowed progress on the plant in order to pressure Iran to comply with additional international safeguards. In particular, Russia has urged Iran to sign an extra bilateral agreement pledging to return all spent nuclear fuel to Russia.

The United States and Israel have pressured Russia to halt construction at Bushehr, charging that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons.


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