United Nations nuclear inspectors are beginning a three-day visit to
examine one of the country's controversial uranium enrichment sites.
The team, from the International Atomic Energy Agency, is due to arrive
in Iran Saturday, and to tour the nuclear facility in Qom the next day.
Iran only recently acknowledged it had been building the enrichment
plant. Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, says Iran is allowing
U.N. inspectors to visit the facility to prove the country's "good
will" and to reassure the world community of its "peaceful nuclear
Iran is still deliberating over a U.N.-backed arrangement on having Russia enrich uranium for Iran to use in a research reactor.
The deal, agreed to by Russia, the United States and France, is
designed to prevent Iran from enriching uranium to the point that it
can be used for nuclear weapons.
On Saturday, Iran's parliament speaker criticized the proposal and
accused Western powers of trying to "cheat" Iran and "impose" on the
country with the deal.
Ali Larijani told Iran's ISNA news agency that under IAEA rules,
countries that have nuclear fuel are required to supply those nations
in need of it. He said he saw no relation between the issue and that of
Iran sending its uranium abroad for further enrichment.
The chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign
policy committee also questioned the deal. ISNA quoted Alaeddin
Boroujerdi as saying Iran would be better off buying the nuclear fuel
directly then entering into any such agreement with world powers.
Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Asgar Soltaniyeh, told Iran's Press
TV that Tehran will respond to the offer next week, but that Tehran
also expects the world powers to examine its own counter-proposals for
The five permanent U.N. Security Council member countries and Germany
will hold talks with Iran at the end of this month in Geneva.