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Iran, UN Watchdog Agree on Inspection of Suspected Nuclear Sites

FILE - In this photo released by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, technicians work at the Arak heavy water reactor's secondary circuit as officials and media visit the site, near Arak, Iran, Dec. 23, 2019.

Iran and the U.N.’s nuclear monitoring agency have agreed on the inspection of two suspected former nuclear sites, where undeclared nuclear material might have been stored or used.

The agreement was announced Wednesday after a months-long standoff.

“Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) with access to the two locations specified by the IAEA,” agency head Rafael Grossi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said in a joint statement.

The statement said dates for the inspection had been determined but did not disclose them.

Iran resisted allowing the inspections, contending the IAEA had no legal basis to visit the suspected sites. The sites are thought to have become operational in the early 2000s, prior to Iran’s signing of a 2015 nuclear pact with global powers that the U.S. later quit.

The deal was announced after Grossi visited Iran to convince Iranian officials to grant access to the sites.

The IAEA found that Iran consistently complied with the 2015 agreement until last year, when Iran started to exceed the deal’s limits on nuclear enrichment. Iran began violating the limits in response to stiff U.S. sanctions after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement.

While Iran no longer complies with any of the agreement’s limits, it has continued to give IAEA inspectors access to its nuclear sites.