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UN nuclear watchdog calls on North Korea to re-admit inspectors

VIENNA — The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog has called on North Korea to allow inspectors back in to monitor its nuclear program.

Speaking at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency Thursday, Director General Yukiya Amano noted that Pyongyang had in September talked about denuclearization measures including the ‘‘permanent dismantlement of the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon’’ — a reactor where it produces plutonium.

Amano said there has been activity observed at Yongbyon, but ‘‘without access the agency cannot confirm the nature and purpose of these activities.’’

At a news conference, he said he couldn’t elaborate on when the activity was observed.

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IAEA inspectors were expelled from North Korea in 2009 but Amano said the agency continues to prepare for their possible re-admittance.

‘‘The agency continues to enhance its readiness to play an essential role in verifying (North Korea’s) nuclear program if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned,’’ he said. ‘‘I again call upon (North Korea) to comply fully with its obligations under relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and of the IAEA board, to cooperate promptly with the agency and to resolve all outstanding issues.’’

On the other hand, Amano told board members that Iran continues to abide by the 2015 deal with major world powers that aimed at preventing Tehran from building atomic weapons in exchange for economic incentives.

He reiterated the agency’s findings in a report distributed to member states earlier this month that ‘‘Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.’’