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Iran opens nuclear site to media, ambassadors

A top official says the purpose of the tour was to show that the country's program is peaceful.

Published February 4, 2007


ISFAHAN, Iran - Iran opened one of its nuclear sites to a large number of local and international reporters and a delegation of foreign ambassadors on Saturday in an effort to show the transparency of its program before a U.N. Security Council deadline this month.

Delegations from the Non-Aligned Movement, Group of 77 and League of Arab States arrived at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in central Iran with nearly 100 reporters. The delegation included representatives from the U.N. nuclear agency from Algeria, Cuba, Egypt and Malaysia, though none were official inspectors.

Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said Saturday that the purpose of the tour was to assure the world that Iran's program was peaceful.

"In fact we have representatives from all over the world," Soltanieh said. "We decided to have them come here and see for themselves." He made a point of emphasizing the International Atomic Energy Agency surveillance cameras in place there.

Photographers and video camera operators were not allowed to take pictures in the outside area of the compound. But visitors were given special clothes, gloves and masks to protect them from radiation and toured the main facility.

Iran says its program is peaceful, but the United States and European countries contend that Iran is trying to build a program that eventually could produce enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons.

The U.N. Security Council on Dec. 23 banned the trade of goods and technology related to Iran's nuclear program.

[Last modified February 4, 2007, 00:42:14]

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