IAEA inspectors barred from Iranian military site (Lead)

February 22nd, 2012 - 9:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook Moscow, Feb 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The UN’s atomic watchdog said Wednesday it could not gain access to a key Iranian military site as the country did not allow it.

Iran did not grant permission for the visit to the Parchin base despite “intensive efforts”, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement.

The IAEA said its expert team was returning from Iran after two days of discussions with Iranian officials that concluded Tuesday.

The talks were designed to clarify the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s disputed uranium enrichment programme, it said.

Western powers suspect Iran of seeking to create a nuclear bomb and have tightened sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Tehran, however, insists its programme is aimed at the production of civilian nuclear energy.

There has also been growing speculation in recent weeks that Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US also has refused to rule out force.

“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement posted on the organisation’s Facebook page. “We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.”

The first round of IAEA discussions with Iran last month also bore no fruit.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman had stressed Tuesday the IAEA team was in Iran for talks, not for inspection.

Earlier Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran wants to break “the authority of powers that are relying on their nuclear arms”, the official IRNA news agency quoted Khamenei as telling the Iranian nuclear experts.

He said assassinations of Iranian experts only indicate the “weakness” of Iran’s “enemies”.

Based on an IAEA report released last November, the board of the UN nuclear watchdog adopted a resolution on Iran’s nuclear programme, calling for intensified dialogue between the agency and Iran to find solutions to unresolved issues.

The IAEA report, which alleges that Iran has engaged in nuclear bomb-related activities, was rejected by Tehran.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
sd/vt

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