IAEA Urges Iran to Grant Access to Military Site as Vienna Talks Begin Over Islamic Republic's Nuclear Program

Senior official from UN nuclear watchdog says aim of two-day meeting is to reach agreement with Iran on approach to resolving issues about disputed atomic activities.

Reuters
Reuters
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A senior UN nuclear watchdog official said Iran needed to give his inspectors access to information, people and sites as he began a two-day meeting with Iranian officials on the Islamic state's disputed atomic activities on Monday.

Herman Nackaerts, deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters as he arrived at an Iranian diplomatic mission in Vienna that Iran should now engage on issues of substance with the UN agency, which is investigating suspicions that Tehran may be seeking nuclear weapons capability.

"The aim of our two days is to reach agreement on (an) approach to resolve all outstanding issues with Iran, in particular clarification of the possible military dimensions remains our priority," Nackaerts said.

On Sunday, an image was revealed by The Associated Press which was said to come from inside an Iranian military site and shows an explosive containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that UN inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted at the site. Iran denies such testing and has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such a chamber.

The image was provided by an official of a country tracking Iran's nuclear program who said the drawing proves the structure exists, despite Tehran's refusal to acknowledge it.

The official said he could not discuss the drawing's origins beyond that it was based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant.

After months of being rebuffed, IAEA and Iranian officials meet starting Monday in Vienna, and the IAEA will renew its attempt to gain access to the chamber, allegedly hidden in a building. Any evidence that Iran is hiding such an explosives containment tank, and details on how it functions, is significant for IAEA investigations.

Beyond IAEA hopes of progress, that two-day meeting is being closely watched by six powers trying to persuade Iran to make nuclear concessions aimed at reducing fears that it may want to develop atomic arms as a mood-setter for May 23 talks between the six and Tehran in Baghdad.

Warnings by Israel that it may attack Iran's nuclear facilities eased after Iran and the six - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - met last month and agreed there was enough common will for the Baghdad round. But with the Jewish state saying it is determined to stop Iran before it develops the capacity to build nuclear weapons, failure at the Iraq talks could turn such threats into reality.

The IAEA has been stonewalled by Iran for more than four years in attempts to probe what it says is intelligence from member states strongly suggesting that Iran secretly worked on developing nuclear weapons.

In this Aug. 13, 2004 satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and the Institute for Science and International Security shows the military complex at Parchin, Iran, 30 kilometers southeast of Tehran.Credit: AP

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