Iran calls closure of UN nuclear arms probe a 'big success'

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that the U.N. nuclear agency's decision to close the books on a decade-long probe of allegations that Tehran worked on nuclear weapons is a "big success."

He hailed the decision as a "moral, political and legal victory" in a televised address, saying it paved the way for Iran to fulfill its remaining obligations under a nuclear deal with world powers. The probe had to be formally ended as part of the historic agreement, which will lift sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear activities.

A resolution to close the probe was approved by consensus of the 35-nation board of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has said his investigation couldn't reconstruct all the details of Iran's past activities. He said Iran worked on studies relevant to making nuclear weapons, with coordinated efforts up to 2003 tapering off into scattered activities up to 2009. Tehran denies ever seeking nuclear arms.

Rouhani said Iran will carry out its remaining obligations in the coming two weeks to pave the way for the lifting of sanctions in January. Iran will now dismantle some of its nuclear centrifuges and ship out a major portion of its stockpile of enriched uranium.

"The chains of sanctions will be removed from the ankles of Iran's economy and the path will be more open for more interaction with the world," Rouhani said.

"We invite ... foreign companies and governments, who would like to cooperate with Iran, to use this opportunity, which will be available within weeks, and benefit from Iran as the most secure country in the region," he added.

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