Reuters: The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Iran on Tuesday to allow a team of experts to return to a military site called Parchin, which they inspected once but have since been barred from visiting. “I would … ask Iran to support the agency’s efforts to pursue further its investigation of the Lavizan-Shian and Parchin sites,” Mohamed ElBaradei said, adding that his inspectors wanted to visit “areas of interest” at Parchin. Reuters
By Louis Charbonneau and Francois Murphy
VIENNA – The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Iran on Tuesday to allow a team of experts to return to a military site called Parchin, which they inspected once but have since been barred from visiting.
“I would … ask Iran to support the agency’s efforts to pursue further its investigation of the Lavizan-Shian and Parchin sites,” Mohamed ElBaradei said, adding that his inspectors wanted to visit “areas of interest” at Parchin.
Parchin, the center of Iran’s munitions industry, and Lavizan are among the sites where the United States suspects Iranian scientists have conducted research related to the development of nuclear weapons.
Iran says it has no interest in such arms, only in civilian nuclear technology to generate electricity.
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visited Parchin earlier this year but Iran turned down a request for a follow-up visit. The United States believes Iran may have experimented with high explosives appropriate for atomic weapons at Parchin, 30 km (19 miles) southeast of Tehran.
A senior Iranian official did not say Iran would reopen Parchin’s doors to inspectors, but said it was willing to talk.
“We will discuss (Parchin) with them. The door is not closed,” Sirus Naseri, the head of Iran’s delegation at this week’s meeting of the IAEA board of governors, told reporters.
ElBaradei said in a speech to the 35-nation IAEA board that he wanted “access to dual-use equipment and other information related to the Lavizan-Shian site.” The agency began looking at Lavizan last year after the site was razed.
The Iranians have admitted that Lavizan was once a military research and development site but denied conducting any nuclear weapons research there or anywhere else in Iran.
ElBaradei said his deputy, Pierre Goldschmidt, would give the IAEA board more details about the agency’s 2-year investigation later this week.
IAEA REVISES REPORT
The Iranians received Goldschmidt’s speech, which diplomats said would be given on Wednesday or Thursday, last Friday.
A diplomat from one of the European Union’s three biggest powers — France, Britain and Germany — told Reuters the Iranians were unhappy about some things in the draft.
“It’s going to be a tough report,” the European diplomat who is familiar with Goldschmidt’s draft speech told Reuters on Monday. “The Iranians are furious about it.”
On the positive side, it confirmed that Iran had kept its promise to suspend sensitive nuclear activities as part of a November deal with the EU trio, he said.
But it criticized Iran for, among other things, failing to cooperate completely with the IAEA probe, the diplomat said. For example, Iran had failed to provide complete declarations on nuclear-related shipments that were the result of meetings with black marketeers, he said.
Diplomats said on Tuesday senior IAEA officials were revising the text of Goldschmidt’s speech, but it was unclear whether the revisions were prompted by the Iranians.
An IAEA spokesman said he had no information about any revisions, but that most speeches presented to the board underwent last-minute changes.
ElBaradei chided Iran in his speech to the IAEA board on Tuesday. In a possible hint at what Goldschmidt will say, ElBaradei said Tehran had not provided the IAEA with full documentation of its uranium enrichment program, one of the IAEA’s two key unresolved issues in Iran.
“We have continued to press for additional documentation regarding offers of equipment made to Iran,” ElBaradei said, adding that what Iran has provided is “not yet sufficient.”