New York Times: Iran signaled on Tuesday that it was unwilling to grant a request by international nuclear inspectors for unfettered access to a restricted military complex that they suspect may house a chamber designed to test explosives used in atomic weapons triggers.
The New York Times
By RICK GLADSTONE
Iran signaled on Tuesday that it was unwilling to grant a request by international nuclear inspectors for unfettered access to a restricted military complex that they suspect may house a chamber designed to test explosives used in atomic weapons triggers.
In its first public statement on the matter since the leader of the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed irritation last week about Iran’s lack of cooperation, Iran also denied suggestions that it had sought to cleanse the military complex, called Parchin, to eliminate any trace of incriminating activity.
“The site is a military site, and conventional military activities are being carried out in the site,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said, according to Iranian news agencies. Ridiculing reports that Iran had tried to clean up the site, he said, “If military nuclear activities are carried out, evidence of them can never be cleaned up, and the issue is mostly propaganda.”
Iran’s unwillingness to grant the inspectors’ request could complicate resumed talks announced last week between Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany over Iran’s nuclear energy program, an increasing source of world tension. Iran says the program is peaceful; Western nations and Israel say it is a cover for developing nuclear weapons capacity.
A sprawling desert complex near Tehran, Parchin figured prominently in the atomic agency’s report on Iran’s nuclear activities last November. The report said Iran had constructed a containment vessel there in 2000 that may have been designed to conduct tests on explosives required to set off the type of reaction needed to detonate a nuclear bomb.
On an earlier visit to Parchin, inspectors found nothing, but were not allowed free access. Inspectors were recently twice denied permission to visit the site.
Mr. Mehmanparast said Iran did not oppose a visit but first wanted an agreement on what the inspectors would be allowed to do.