An Iranian official said Tuesday that authorities were ready to let the United Nations’ nuclear agency inspect a new heavy water reactor within weeks.
The spokesman of Iran’s nuclear department, Behrouz Kamalvandi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying inspections at the Arak facility could take place by December 11.
But Kamalvandi also said Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency would first have to agree on the details of the inspections. IRNA did not elaborate further.
The promise to grant wider access to UN nuclear inspectors could help push forward talks between Iran and world powers, which failed to reach a deal over the weekend but are scheduled to resume next week in Geneva. The offer was also seen as a goodwill gesture ahead of the next round of talks between Iran and the IAEA on December 11.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will have access to a key uranium mine and the site of the planned heavy water reactor, which uses a different type of coolant than regular water and produces a greater amount of plutonium byproduct than conventional reactors.
Plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons production, but separating it from the reactor byproducts requires a special technology that Iran does not currently possess.
During weekend talks in Geneva between Iran and six world powers, France insisted that more controls were needed on the reactor in the central city of Arak. Iran on Monday promised more information and access to its nuclear sites.
The west suspects Iran’s nuclear program is geared toward atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.