Iran agrees to UN inspection of nuclear site
VIENNA: Iran has agreed to give the UN nuclear watchdog agency a fresh look at a military complex linked by the United States to possible atomic arms research, diplomats said on Friday.
The diplomats, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said no date for the inspection had been set. But one of them suggested that it could come before the planned Feb. 28 meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency _ the U.N. watchdog now probing Tehran’s nuclear activities. IAEA inspectors last visited the Parchin complex just outside Tehran in mid-January in their search for radiation that could point to such research. Diplomats accredited to the agency or familiar with its work said the inspectors were given partial access to the site and were allowed to take environmental samples for analysis in the agency’s European laboratories.
One of the diplomats said Iran gave “its agreement in principle” about 10 days ago to a new visit by inspectors. Diplomats last month said that as far as they knew the IAEA experts were not impeded in their first visit beyond the limitations placed on where they could take their samples. But one of the diplomats said the fact that the agency had requested fresh access to another part of the site suggested there are continued open questions about the nature of the work conducted at Parchin.
In leaks to media last year, US intelligence officials said a specially secured site at Parchin may be used in research for high-explosive components of nuclear weapons.
Iran asserts its military is not involved in nuclear activities, and the IAEA has found no firm evidence to the contrary. The agency also has not been able to support U.S. assertions that nearly two decades of covert nuclear programs discovered 2 1/2 years ago were aimed at making nuclear weapons and not at generating electricity, as Tehran claims. But an IAEA report in October expressed concern about published intelligence and media reports relating to equipment and materials that could serve military purposes. At the time, diplomats said the phrasing alluded to Parchin. EU-Iranian talks on getting Iran to guarantee it is not interested in making nuclear weapons are to resume in Geneva Tuesday, diplomats said Friday. Britain, France and Germany struck an agreement with Iran in November to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities in return for talks on trade, security and technological bonuses for the Islamic Republic. agencies