World powers demand concrete steps from Iran
VIENNA / TEHRAN
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C) meets with members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran. REUTERS photoSix world powers, the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain, told Iran yesterday to let international inspectors visit a military site where the U.N. nuclear watchdog says development work relevant for nuclear weapons may have taken place.
In a joint statement at a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the powers also voiced “regret” about Iran’s stepped up drive to enrich uranium, activity which can have both civilian and military purposes. “We urge Iran to fulfill its undertaking to grant access to Parchin,” the statement said, referring to the military facility southeast of Tehran, Reuters reported. Iran refused access to the site during talks with a senior IAEA team earlier this year.
In a press release from the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ankara, Iran said it will allow inspectors to visit the Parchin site but modalities needed to be completed. “The IAEA declared it has intentions to visit the site in its latest visit despite its being illegal under the agreements signed between the two sides. …The permission will be granted after modalities are completed,” the statement said. “IAEA visited the site twice in 2005, and the former chief of the institution declared the issue was closed to discussion,” it added. “Parchin is a military site and it is time-consuming to get an authorization to get access; therefore a multiple authorization could not be granted.” The statement also criticized the IAEA officials for asking questions only about the site in their latest visit while calling on world states to support and avoid any effort that would weaken the process.
Israel asks US for advanced ‘bunker-buster’
Meanwhile, diplomats told the Associated Press that the satellite images of Parchin military facility appear to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the site, indicating an attempted cleanup of radioactive traces possibly left by tests of a nuclear-weapon trigger. Two of the diplomats said the crews at the site may be trying to erase evidence of tests of a small experimental neutron device used to set off a nuclear explosion. A third diplomat could not confirm that but said any attempt to trigger a so-called neutron initiator could only be in the context of trying to develop nuclear arms. With mounting concerns, Israel has asked the United States for advanced “bunker-buster” bombs and refueling planes that could improve its ability to attack Iran’s underground nuclear sites, an Israeli official said yesterday. “Such a request was made” around the time of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week, the official said, confirming media reports.
The head of IAEA also said Iran was not being completely open about its nuclear program. “We have the indication or information that Iran has engaged in activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices.” Yukiya Amano told CNN.