IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano
IAEA Director General Yukiya AmanoIsrael news photo: Reuters

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has admitted that “intensive efforts” by its team that visited Iran have failed.

According to a report on AFP, the IAEA team members were denied access to a key military site during their visit to Tehran.

“Intensive efforts were made to reach an agreement on a document facilitating the clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran’s nuclear program,” the news agency quoted the IAEA as having said in a statement. “Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document.”

The report said that the team requested access both during this visit and during a first trip in late January to the Parchin military site, where it suspects suspicious nuclear activities are carried out. However, the IAEA statement said, Iran “did not grant permission” to visit the site.

“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 the statement. “We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.”

The high-ranking IAEA team was led by Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA’s chief inspector. The team’s visit, the visit second by an IAEA team in less than a month, was aimed at clarifying all “outstanding substantive issues” surrounding Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was quoted by the Iranian news agency ISNA as saying the talks had been intensive and covered “cooperation and mutual understanding between Iran and the IAEA.” He added that the “negotiations will continue in the future.”

In November, the IAEA released a report which warned of evidence that Iran is intent on developing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear development activities are aimed at peaceful domestic purposes only -- but it has refused to modify or stop them, and has maintained secrecy about its programs at the highest levels.

Iran announced last week that it activated a new generation of centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear site in order to accelerate its uranium enrichment activities. The announcement came several days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised that Tehran would unveil “big new” nuclear achievements.

The United States, however, downplayed Iran's announcement and said it was “not terribly new and not terribly impressive.”