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Iran agrees to more steps to ease worries over nuclear program

This file picture is from November's deal between world powers and Iran halting parts of its nuclear program.

Story highlights

  • IAEA says Iran has agreed to take 7 steps in working with watchdog group
  • Iran will allows "managed" access to uranium mines in Ardakan
  • The steps could be a positive signal ahead of talks later this month

Iranian and International Atomic Energy Agency officials jointly said Sunday that Iran has agreed to take seven more steps by May to ease international concern over Tehran's nuclear program.

The move, described on the website of the United Nations watchdog group, could be a sign that there has been genuine progress toward achieving a permanent nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the United States. The parties will start negotiating February 18 in Vienna.

The seven steps that Iran agreed to over the weekend with IAEA officials will be implemented by May 15, 2014, according to the IAEA.

First, Iran will provide "mutually agreed relevant information and managed access" to the Saghand mine in Yazd, which will give an accounting for the mining and refinement of uranium. Second, Iran will provide information and "managed access" to the Ardakan concentration plant. Tehran agreed to show updated design information and oblige the IAEA's safety recommendations for the IR-40 reactor. That's a heavy-water reactor at Arak, which is of concern because it can be used to produce plutonium.

Also, Iran agreed to give information about and allow inspectors to visit Lashkar Ab'ad Laser Centre and provide information on various source material. The IAEA will also get information and explanations to help it assess Iran's desire to develop Exploding Bridgewire detonators, which trigger reactions in explosive materials.

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