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UN inspectors to visit Iran N-plant

Inspectors from the UN nuclear agency have arrived in Tehran to visit a nuclear facility that has long been off-limits to outside experts, a n Iranian news agency has said.

The semi-official Mehr news agency said that two inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will visit the heavy water production plant in the central city of Arak tomorrow. It did not give any further details.

Iran agreed last month with the IAEA to allow expanded UN monitoring at the country's nuclear sites, including the Arak facility.

That agreement was not part of a separate interim deal which Iran also struck last month with world powers. The six-power deal commits Tehran to freeze its nuclear programme for six months in return for limited relief from economic sanctions.

AP

Meanwhile, Iran's president defended an interim nuclear deal reached with world powers last month that eases some sanctions in return for a halt to parts of the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment programme, saying improving the economy is as important as maintaining a peaceful nuclear programme.

Hassan Rouhani told students in Tehran that economic progress cannot be achieved without interaction with the outside world. He said his government will continue his policy of moderation, in sharp contrast to the bombastic style of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The six-month interim nuclear deal includes greater access for UN inspectors to Iran and a cap on the level of uranium enrichment. Mr Rouhani faces the difficult task of selling the interim agreement to sceptics and hard-liners at home.

AP

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