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'Inspectors welcome,' Iran tells IAEA


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TEHRAN (CNN) -- Iran's nuclear facilities are "open to (U.N.) inspectors," the chief of that nation's Atomic Energy Organization has said.

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AEO director Gholamreza Aghazadeh was speaking on Saturday after a two-day visit from International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei.

ElBaradei led a team of nuclear inspectors to one of two new Iranian nuclear facilities on Friday. (Story)

U.S. officials had said the facilities posed cause for "serious concern" but Iran insists they are part of its civilian nuclear energy program.

"We have told Mr. ElBaradei that central to our policy is transparency and confidence building," said Aghazadeh.

"All doors are open to IAEA inspectors."

The site visited Friday, in the town of Natanz, is a uranium enrichment facility. U.S. officials have said that facility and one in the town of Arak may be part of Iran's effort to build nuclear weapons.

Iran confirmed that the facilities are nuclear plants, but said the country's nuclear program is aimed at building nuclear power plants.

Aghazadeh said the plants are part of an ambitious 20-year program to increase Iran's power production by 6,000 megawatts.

Iran invited ElBaradei in December to look at its new sites after the United States sounded an alarm about new construction it said could only be weapons facilities.

ElBaradei said Iran should notify the IAEA of its programs on a more timely basis.


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