Iran opens nuclear site to Mongolia's president

Associated Press
FILE- In this April, 9, 2007, file photo Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks at a ceremony in Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran. Iran's denials that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons carry a distinctly hollow ring among its  foes as the U.N. nuclear watchdog piles on worries: Complaining about limits on inspection access and reporting that Tehran is expanding its nuclear fuel labs. But, as Israel increasingly weighs the option of a military strike, Western leaders wary of another Middle East conflict may have to pay closer attention to the claims. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)
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FILE- In this April, 9, 2007, file photo Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaks at a ceremony in Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran. Iran's denials that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons carry a distinctly hollow ring among its foes as the U.N. nuclear watchdog piles on worries: Complaining about limits on inspection access and reporting that Tehran is expanding its nuclear fuel labs. But, as Israel increasingly weighs the option of a military strike, Western leaders wary of another Middle East conflict may have to pay closer attention to the claims. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Monday gave Mongolia's president a tour of its main uranium enrichment plant, the first time that it has opened the site to a foreign leader.

The visit by President Tsakhia Elbegdorj followed a summit of nonaligned nations in Tehran that Iranian officials hoped would show the failure of Western sanctions to isolate Iran diplomatically.

State TV showed Elbegdorj inspecting centrifuges used to enrich uranium at the facility in the central Iranian town of Natanz.

The West says Iran's nuclear program aims at developing weapons technology, but Iran says it is for peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment.

Mongolia is said to be building its first nuclear power plant and mining uranium with the help of Russia.

Iran has often said it is willing to transfer its nuclear expertise to other countries.

The TV broadcast said the Mongolian leader was allowed to visit whatever he wanted in the plant. It suggested that Elbegdorj endorsed the Iranian claim about the peaceful purposes of its nuclear program.

"This site is a unique place. Maybe in other countries it is not possible to visit such a sensitive place," he was quoted as saying. "I found out how the enriched uranium is being used for peaceful energy."

Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear agency visit the site regularly, and Iran has in the past allowed foreign diplomats and reporters to enter it as well.

Mongolia is one of the 120 members of the Nonaligned Movement of emerging nations, which held its summit in Tehran last week. Iran said during the meeting that it would open its nuclear sites to participating delegates.

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