UN Nuke Agency Disappointed after Iran Denies Access to Military Site


IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Mark Garten.

In a surprisingly descriptive press statement on Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran did not grant them access to a military site suspected of nuclear weapons-related research in a just-concluded trip to the country. The UN nuclear watchdog also said they and Iran were unable to agree on a plan to seek clarifications regarding the Iranian nuclear program, “particularly” possible military aspects.

The senior IAEA expert team visit to Iran took place on February 20-21, following up on a multi-day visit in late January. In both visits, the UN team requested permission to access the military access at Parchin, which Iran denied.

Parchin is not officially a nuclear site, but the IAEA expressed concerns in a 2011 about possible nuclear weapons-related research taking place there. The Agency report said they were able to visit there twice in 2005 without finding anything, but that review did not include what is believed to be an explosives testing vessel that could have application for nuclear weapons.

“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Tuesday’s press statement. “We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.”

The statement from the United Nations’ nuclear agency also said that “intensive efforts” were made during the senior expert team’s visit to Iran to agree on a document that would help clarify unresolved matters. Those include issues “relating to possible military dimensions” to the program.

Said the IAEA statement, “Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 21, 2012)