International inspectors have arrived in Iran to visit a newly-revealed nuclear plant that has heightened fears about Tehran’s atomic intentions.
Western powers led by the US suspect that Iran is enriching uranium with the aim of making nuclear bombs, something the Islamic Republic denies. The team from the UN’s nuclear watchdog is likely to spend several days at the Qom plant, whose existence was only revealed by Iran last month. It comes as Tehran considers a UN-drafted agreement aimed at settling the nuclear row. Under the deal, the country would send the bulk of its stock of low-enriched uranium to Russia and France for further processing in a way that would make it hard to use for warheads. It would then be returned to Iran to power a reactor in Tehran. IAEA boss Mohammed ElBaradei hopes Iran will agree to the plan, endorsed by Washington, Moscow and Paris. Iran is due to give its response by the middle of next week. But influential figures including the speaker of parliament have already criticised the proposal.