Iran could allow UN inspection of suspected nuclear test sites, IAEA envoy says
Speaking with Russian network RT, Ali Asghar Soltanieh says Iran insists that UN watchdog, Tehran reach written agreement on specific sites to be visited before giving the okay.
Iran does not rule out the possibility of allowing UN inspectors to examine site suspected of nuclear weapons activity, Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency said in an interview to Russian television late Monday.
On Tuesday, Iran's foreign minister said Tuesday that the Islamic Republic expected talks with the United Nations nuclear watchdog to continue, adding that it was optimistic that said negotiations would proceed in the right direction.
In the latest high-level talks between the IAEA and Iran, conducted in Tehran in January and February, Iranian officials stuck to a refusal to address intelligence reports about covert research relevant to developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes only.
Speaking to RT television late Monday, Iranian IAEA envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh indicated that the Islamic Republic could allow UN access to sites suspected of nuclear weapons activity, adding, however, that this would depend on the ability to reach a written agreement between Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog
"We are not ruling out access to military sites, including Parchin, provided that everything is [written] down," Soltanieh said, referring to an army base near Tehran referred to in a recent IAEA report
The report indicated that Iran had built a large containment chamber at Parchin military to conduct high-explosives tests. The UN agency said there were "strong indicators of possible weapon development."
According to Soltanieh, the issue was not an essential Iranian refusal to let inspectors into facilities such as Parchin, but Iran's fears that it would provide access to certain sites, only to be asked later to allow inspectors in other sites.
In the interview, Soltanieh gave the example of Iran's approval of a UN inspection of Parchin in 2005, saying that Tehran has "to have assurances that we will not repeat the same bitter experience, when they just come and ask for the access, there should be a modality, a frame of reference, of what exactly they are looking for, they have to provide the documents and exactly where they want [top go]."
"It is not good for the credibility if the IAEA if each time they go and then they say 'I apologize, we forgot to go to a different place," the Iranian official added.
"Parchin, that they have requested, this request is already in the draft, the last draft [on which] we have been working after two rounds of negotiations, therefore the name of Parchin and other activities that are related to [the] allegations are there and in principle we have already accepted that when this text is concluded we will take these steps," he said.
Referring to reports that it refused to let an IAEA delegation enter such sites during a recent visit, Soltanieh told RT that the group were not inspectors per se they were the high officials of the agency, from the legal, political, and technical departments, coming to discuss [the] modality and framework of our future work, apart from normal inspection of course."
" We were supposed to negotiate on a framework of madlity how to proceed from now on. Since the modality was not concluded, therefore the access to places that [are] in the modality could not be, and of course will be implemented once the modality is concluded," he added.