Daily Israel Report

Iran Must Allow Immediate Access to Parchin, Says IAEA Chief

Yukiya Amano calls on Iran to allow access to the Parchin military base, where nuclear weapons research may have taken place.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/5/2013, 6:45 AM

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano
Reuters

The head of the UN atomic agency called Monday on Iran to allow immediate access to the Parchin military base where it suspects nuclear weapons research took place, AFP reported.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano said that this should be granted "without further delay" and without waiting for stalled talks to reach an agreement on investigating other alleged "westernization" activities.

"I request Iran once again to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay, whether or not agreement has been reached on the structured approach," Amano told the IAEA board of governors meeting.

"Providing access to the Parchin site would be a positive step which would help to demonstrate Iran's willingness to engage with the Agency on the substance of our concerns," he said, according to AFP.

Iran has refused to give the IAEA access to sites, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.

More than a year of meetings, the latest on February 13 in Tehran, have failed to agree on a so-called "structured approach" deal to address all the allegations.

Amano said Monday that "negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency" and that he "would like to report real progress by the next meeting of the next (IAEA) board meeting in June."

Tehran says that the IAEA's conclusions about the "possible military dimensions" of its program are based on flawed information from Western and Israeli spy agencies, information that it says it has not been allowed to see.

Iran denies working or ever having worked on nuclear weapons and says that no nuclear activities have taken place at the Parchin military base near Tehran and that therefore the IAEA has no right to conduct inspections there.

The IAEA visited the site twice in 2005 but says that since then it has obtained additional indications of activity there that make it want to go back.

An IAEA report released on February 21 indicated that Iran has begun installing next-generation equipment at one of its main nuclear plants in Natanz.

Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said that the report from the Vienna-based watchdog shows Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful.

“The most important point of the report is that after a decade of continuous inspections by the agency, there is no evidence on divergence toward military purposes in Iran's nuclear material and activities,” Soltanieh said the day after the report was released.

On Sunday, Iran confirmed the information in the report, with its state-run media saying the Islamic Republic is adding thousands of advanced centrifuges to further enrich uranium into nuclear fuel.

Sunday was the first time officials have announced details about the number of machines being installed at the plant, although plans for the equipment had been made public earlier in the year.