Reuters: U.N. inspectors will visit a military base in Iran on Thursday which Washington says may be part of a covert atomic arms bid, but they will have only partial access to the site, a senior Iranian official said.
The team of the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran on Wednesday to conduct a programme of inspections which include the Parchin military facility southeast of Tehran.
Reuters

TEHRAN - U.N. inspectors will visit a military base in Iran on Thursday which Washington says may be part of a covert atomic arms bid, but they will have only partial access to the site, a senior Iranian official said.

The team of the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran on Wednesday to conduct a programme of inspections which include the Parchin military facility southeast of Tehran.

The IAEA has been waiting months for Iranian permission to access the site which U.S. officials believe is part of a secret programme to build atomic bombs.

Iran denies that it has been trying to make nuclear weapons at Parchin or any other site in the country. It says its nuclear programme is geared solely to producing electricity.

"We are watchful. We have allowed inspections of our military installations, but we will not allow any espionage or the theft of information," said Hossein Mousavian, main spokesman of Iran's nuclear negotiating team.

"It is not necessary for the inspectors to enter the buildings. They are authorised to take samples outside (the buildings) with their equipment," he told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

The IAEA has been investigating Iran's nuclear ambitions for more than two years. But while it has discovered several instances of undeclared activities that could be used to make atomic bomb fuel, it has not found any conclusive proof that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapons capability.

Political analysts say a nuclear-armed Iran could further destabilise the turbulent Middle East. They say Washington fears its ability to put pressure on the Islamic state would also be severely hampered if Tehran had atomic arms.

Iran says it has no intention of adding nuclear weapons to its military capability.

"Undoubtedly the small countries in the region would turn to the United States if Iran seeks nuclear weapons," Mousavian said.

"Iran's political, economic and social development would be jeopardised if Iran seeks to build nuclear weapons. We have never considered weapons of mass destruction to be a proper deterrent," he said.