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Iran Ratifies Ban on Access to Military Sites, Scientists


FILE - The reactor building of Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is seen, just outside the port city of Bushehr 750 miles (1245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran.

Iran's constitutional watchdog has ratified legislation that requires the government to protect the country's nuclear rights, as Iran and six world powers approach a deadline for reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal.

State media reported the Guardian Council on Wednesday ratified the bill, which bans access to military sites and scientists.

The Fars news agency quotes council spokesman Nejatollah Ebrahimian as saying the constitutional body passed the bill with a majority of votes and did not find it to contradict Islamic law or Iran's Constitution.

The Guardian Council's approval means the bill is set to become law.

The bill would allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to make routine visits to Iranian nuclear sites within the framework of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In an address late Tuesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated that Iran would not allow international inspectors access to military sites to verify it is complying with the nuclear agreement.

He also said Iran will not accept any long-term curbing of its atomic program.

Negotiators from Iran and six world powers have been working on the details of a plan to scale back Iran's nuclear program for a period of 10 years in exchange for relief from sanctions that have hurt the country's economy. June 30 is their self-imposed deadline after reaching a framework agreement in early April.

Khamenei said limitations lasting for 10 or 12 years would be unacceptable.

The speed at which sanctions would be unraveled has been a key sticking point in the final negotiations, with the group consisting of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany seeking a phased repeal.

But Khamenei said Tuesday that Iran wants the economic measures lifted as soon as a deal is signed.

In other news, The Associated Press reported Wednesday the countries negotiating with Iran are ready to offer high-tech reactors and other state-of-the-art equipment if Iran agrees to curtail its suspected efforts to make nuclear weapons. The offer is part of a draft document meant to accompany the main text of a nuclear deal, according to the AP.

A comprehensive agreement is meant to address accusations that Iran has been working for years to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has long insisted its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at civilian applications such as medical research and power generation.