As IAEA arrives in Iran, new satellite imagery purports to show construction at Parchin
U.S.think tank says imagery shows 'steady pace' of what appears to be reconstruction at the site, linked to suspected nuclear activity, which the UN nuclear inspector's team is trying to gain access too.
A U.S. think tank published satellite imagery on Wednesday which it said shows ongoing construction at Iran's Parchin military complex, a site linked to suspected nuclear activity. The publication came just ahead of the arrival of a UN nuclear inspector's team in Tehran on Thursday.
The Institute for Science and International Security said that an image taken on December 9 shows "a steady pace of what appears to be the 'reconstruction' phase" of a site that had undergone considerable alterations between April and July 2012, including demolition of buildings and movement of earth.
"A new site layout is taking shape and the presence of dirt piles and a considerable number of earth moving vehicles and cars suggest that construction is continuing at a steady pace," the think tank said.
The December 9 image shows "what appears to be a new, almost completed security perimeter around the site," as well as two major buildings "covered with white or gray roofing," according to the think tank.
The International Atomic Energy Agency team's one-day visit to Tehran on Thursday is an effort to engage Iran on the nuclear issue and secure access to Parchin.
Iran's official IRNA news agency said Thursday that the seven-member team, headed by Herman Nackaerts, a deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, would meet with Iranian nuclear officials.
The report says the two sides will try to reach a framework for restarting talks on Iran's nuclear program.
The IAEA has demanded for over a year to visit Parchin military site, which the agency says could have been used for experiments related to nuclear weapons. Iran insists the site is only a conventional military facility.
The West suspects Iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon. Tehran denies the charge.