IAEA to visit Iranian military site | News | DW | 06.03.2012
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IAEA to visit Iranian military site

The IAEA is to be granted access to Iran's Parchin military site, after the agency voiced suspicions that the complex may be conducting research related to nuclear weapons.

Iran is prepared to grant the UN nuclear watchdog access to its Parchin military complex, which the agency suspects is connected to the country's disputed nuclear program, the country's ISNA news agency reported Tuesday.

The news service carried a statement by the country's mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna saying observers could inspect the site after details of the visit are agreed upon.

"Parchin is a military site and accessing it is a time-consuming process, therefore visits cannot be allowed frequently ... We will allow the IAEA to visit it one more time," the statement read.

Parchin, located southeast of Tehran, is not an official nuclear site, meaning Iran is not obligated to give IAEA inspectors access. The Islamic Republic's chief nuclear official, Mohammad Abbasi, has denied that any nuclear activity is conducted at the site.

The military complex has been under suspicion by many Western countries since at least 2004, when a prominent nuclear expert reported that part of the site seen on satellite images may have been an explosives chamber useable for nuclear weapons research.

The IAEA was allowed to visit Parchin in 2005, but did not inspect the area which experts now believe may be the explosives chamber. A detailed IAEA report last November said Parchin was of interest to the agency, and that Iranian authorities should clarify its purpose.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said Monday that the agency had "serious concerns" about Iran's nuclear program, which Western countries believe may be meant to build a nuclear bomb. Iran says the program is for peaceful energy generation and research purposes.

acb/pfd (Reuters, dpa)