April 4, 2006

IAEA inspectors to visit Iran Friday: report

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear
watchdog will arrive in Iran on Friday to visit nuclear sites,
including the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, Iran's ISNA
news agency reported on Tuesday.

"The agency inspectors are traveling to Tehran this Friday.
The inspectors will visit different parts of Iran's nuclear
facilities including the Natanz facility," Aliasghar
Soltaniyeh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic
Energy Agency, told ISNA.

Soltaniyeh, who had said IAEA inspectors would visit Iran
this week but had not given a date, said the inspections were
part of Iran's commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT).

In February, Iran scrapped snap inspections of its nuclear
facilities after its nuclear file was referred to the U.N.
Security Council, which can impose sanctions. But it says it is
continuing to cooperate with the IAEA and its inspectors.

Iranian officials have said IAEA inspectors would get
greater access to its nuclear sites if the Iranian atomic file
was handed back to the IAEA and handled by the U.N. watchdog
rather than the Security Council.

The United Nations has called on Iran to halt uranium
enrichment, which the West believes Iran is pursuing to acquire
technology to make an atomic bomb. Iran has rejected the demand
and insists it only wants to make fuel for civilian uses.

Iran has installed 3,000 centrifuges at its Natanz
enrichment plant in central Iran which could produce enough
bomb-grade uranium for a single atomic weapon if operating at
full capacity for a year.

But experts say Iran still needs to master the enrichment