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Iran Continues Nuclear Tour, Shows Enrichment Site

A file photo showing the uranium enrichment complex at Natanz
Foreign diplomats have toured Iran's nuclear facility at Natanz, where uranium is being enriched in defiance of UN sanctions.

On January 15, ambassadors from Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Oman, Syria, Venezuela, and the Arab League visited the heavy water installation in Arak, in central Iran.

Russia and China snubbed the visit, along with the European Union, while the United States, Britain, France, and Germany were not invited.

But Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, on January 16 said the tour demonstrates the country's transparency about its atomic program, ahead of talks with six world powers at the end of next week in Istanbul.

"All the propaganda over the past eight years against our facilities -- including the enrichment at Natanz and Arak, which yesterday was seen from kilometers away -- is evidence that the international community should know that public thought is generally influenced by the U.S. and some other countries - who did not allow for the truth to emerge," Soltanieh said. "This [transparency] was the biggest achievement of this tour."

The comments come a day after Iran's atomic chief and acting foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, vowed to push ahead with the enrichment work "very strongly."

Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, which Western powers fear could help Iran create material for atomic weapons.

compiled from agency reports