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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Grants Unprecedented Tour of Key Nuclear Plant

NATANZ, Iran -- Iran's president vowed his country will one day resume nuclear activities as he gave journalists an unprecedented look Wednesday at the heart of its contested program: a once-secret underground complex that the United States says aims to produce material for bombs.

The journalists' tour at the Natanz facility and another nuclear plant in Isfahan aimed to show that Iran is not breaking its promise to suspend its uranium enrichment program --but that it could resume whenever it wishes. "Our experts are ready to resume work to compensate for lost opportunities during the freeze," Mohammed Saeedi, deputy head of Iran's Atomic Energy organization, told journalists during the tour.

President Mohammad Khatami said Iran will "definitely" proceed with enrichment but that it intends to reach a deal in negotiations with European nations and the UN nuclear watchdog agency.

France, Britain and Germany are considering letting Iran keep nuclear technology that could be used to make bombs, an apparent move toward a compromise with Tehran, diplomats said Wednesday.

Such a step would lead to a clash with Washington, which has backed European Union talks with Iran on condition Tehran renounce all activities that could produce nuclear fuel.

However, a U.S. State Department spokesman dismissed the diplomats' remarks, saying Washington and the three EU states were still united in insisting Iran must halt all sensitive technology.

Spokesman Adam Ereli also dismissed the Natanz tour as a "staged media event" far short of real openness about Iran's nuclear program.