Iran Denies UN Nuclear Watchdog's Reports of Nuclear Cleanup at Parchin Military Base

Iranian defense minister says that claims by the IAEA that Tehran was trying to erase evidence of nuclear testing are 'irrelevant and unwise.'

Iran has denied claims by the International Atomic Energy Agency that it demolished buildings at a military base that the agency suspects was involved in nuclear testing.

The Monday report by state-owned news website quotes Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as saying allegations that Iran was trying to erase evidence at the Parchin military base are "irrelevant and unwise."

The UN nuclear watchdog showed satellite images last month to board member nations that indicated a cleanup of the site, saying the photos depicted water streaming out of one building, the razing of several other buildings and removal of earth at the facility.

The activities in the site at southeast of Tehran are a recent IAEA concern.

The IAEA presented an image that showed signs that "ground-scraping activities" had taken place at the Parchin facility as well as the presence of bulldozers, according to diplomats who attended a closed-door briefing by UN nuclear agency officials.

The Parchin complex is at the center of Western suspicions that Iran has been developing a nuclear weapons capability despite Tehran's repeated denials of any such ambition.

The IAEA said in a report issued to member states that satellite images showed "extensive activities" at the facility southeast of Tehran - in what diplomats said was an allusion to suspected cleaning there.

iran nuclear - Haaretz - November 6 2011