Bloomberg: A United Nations visit to Iran’s Parchin military complex may top the agenda of a two-day meeting between Iranian diplomats and UN nuclear inspectors.
By Jonathan Tirone
A United Nations visit to Iran’s Parchin military complex may top the agenda of a two-day meeting between Iranian diplomats and UN nuclear inspectors.
International Atomic Energy Agency officials will meet Iranian envoys at the nation’s embassy in Vienna, according to the IAEA’s public information office. Today’s meeting is the first between the two sides since Iran snubbed inspectors’ request to visit Parchin during a Feb. 21 visit to Tehran.
Iran and the IAEA began a high-level dialogue in an attempt to address suspicions that the country is pursuing nuclear- weapons capabilities. In a Nov. 8, 2011, report, the IAEA cited information provided by a member state and satellite-imagery analysis indicating Iran may have conducted high-explosive tests of components for an atomic weapon at Parchin, 18 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Tehran.
Iran may be erasing evidence of nuclear-weapons work at the facility, according to the analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security. Commercial satellite imagery of the Parchin site taken on April 9, compared with a previous image obtained on March 4, shows unidentified items lined up outside a rectangular building and what appears to be water flowing out of the structure.
Iran may be washing up inside the building or cleaning items outside because IAEA inspectors expressed an interest in visiting the site, Paul Brannan and David Albright, the Washington-based institute’s president, wrote in a study on its website that shows the satellite images.
The IAEA has pursued questions about Iran’s activities at Parchin for much of the past decade. Because it isn’t a declared nuclear facility, inspectors need special authorization to visit the base, which the IAEA report said may house a test-blast chamber built in 2000. Inspectors found nothing at the site during previous visits in 2004.
This week’s meeting in Vienna will be followed by a round of talks between Iranian diplomats and their counterparts from China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. on May 23.