Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have reached a new agreement that should lead to more transparency about the nation's nuclear capabilities and research. Under the deal, Iran has agreed to provide information on its work on detonators for nuclear weapons, as well as allow inspectors to enter a uranium mine and yellowcake concentration plant.
The deal between Iran and the UN agency arrives independently of talks between the Middle Eastern country and six world powers, including the U.S., scheduled to begin on February 18.
The detonator part of the deal is a new development—Iran has continually affirmed that its nuclear research is for civilian purposes only, and that it has no military ambition for its nuclear research. Exploding Bridge Wire detonators do have non-nuclear uses. In 2011, the IAEA wrote:
Given their possible application in a nuclear explosive device, and the fact that there are limited civilian and conventional military applications for such technology, Iran's development of such detonators and equipment is a matter of concern.
The agency was unable to negotiate access into the Parchin military facility, which Western nations suspect is a major facility for Iran's supposed military nuclear programs. UN inspectors were last allowed to tour the site in 2006.