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IAEA Welcomes Pope’s Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

FILE - Technicians work at a uranium processing site in Isfahan, Iran. Pope Francis, in a United Nations speech, called for 'a world free of nuclear weapons.'

The head of the U.N. nuclear agency said he appreciated Pope Francis’ endorsement of the Iran nuclear agreement during his speech to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.

"I am very much pleased by the pope’s speech on nonproliferation," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukio Amano told VOA after the Friday morning address. "We are doing now a lot of work to make progress in implementing the [nuclear] agreement that was reached in July."

Speaking at the U.N.’s headquarters in New York, the pope said the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers "is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy."

The pope had expressed hope for a lasting agreement that would "bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved." He noted "an urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons."

Under the nuclear agreement, Tehran pledged to scale back its uranium-enrichment activities and take other action to guarantee that it is not building a nuclear bomb. Iran also agreed to permit thorough inspections of its facilities devoted to nuclear research and production.

In exchange, the United States and its allies will ease the sanctions that have wrecked the Iranian economy.