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Iran Denies UN Watchdog Visit To Military Complex

Iran Denies UN Nuclear Watchdog A Second Visit To Military Complex

Iran has turned down a request by the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency to make a second visit to the Parchin military site, which has been linked in allegations to nuclear weapons testing, a senior agency official said today.

Iran allowed International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) inspectors to visit the site in January in the interests of transparency following the allegations, but the visit was limited to only one of four areas identified as being of potential interest and to only five buildings in that area, said IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards, Pierre Goldschmidt.

But when the IAEA requested to visit "another area of particular interest" before the end of February, Iran indicated that "the expectation of the Safeguards Department in visiting specified zone and points in Parchin Complex are fulfilled and thus there is no justification for any additional visit," he told the Agency's Board of Governors in Vienna.

He noted that the Agency was given free access to those buildings singled out in the earlier visit and to their surroundings and was permitted to take environmental samples.

"As a result of its limited scope visit to Parchin, the Agency is able to inform the Board that it saw no relevant dual use equipment or materials in the location visited," Mr. Goldschmidt said, referring to materials that can be used either for peaceful purposes of producing energy or for making weapons. "The Agency is awaiting the results of environmental sampling analysis to ascertain whether any nuclear material had been used in the area visited."

The Parchin incident is the latest wrinkle in a saga that began two years ago when it became clear that Iran had for many years concealed its nuclear activities in breach of its legal obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran has consistently denied it is seeking nuclear weapons, insisting its programme is purely for energy generation.

Addressing the Board yesterday IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei called on Iran to provide "full transparency" on all its nuclear activities, noting that information on some outstanding issues was still pending, while progress has been made on others. He has previously stated that he is not in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in the country.

In another development, Iran showed the Agency in January a handwritten document reflecting an offer said to have been made in 1987 by a foreign intermediary relating to centrifuge technology acquisition – a step in producing enriched uranium which can be used in weapons production. The document suggests that the offer included, among other items, materials for 2000 centrifuge machines, Mr. Goldschmidt said.

Iran stated that only some of the items had been delivered, and that all of them had been declared to the IAEA. This information is still being assessed and the Agency has requested that all documentation relevant to the offer be made available to it.

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