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An International Atomic Energy Agency team began searching Iraqi nuclear sites Saturday in the first inspection by a world body in more than a year.

The team arrived in Baghdad on Friday for the first visit by monitors from the Vienna-based organization since U.N. weapons inspectors left the country in late 1998 on the eve of U.S.-British airstrikes.

Ahmad Abuzahra, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the inspection was not part of the supervision regime imposed on Iraq by the United Nations after the 1991 Persian Gulf war over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

The inspection, he added, was part of the monitoring program imposed on all signers of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Iraq signed in 1968.

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