Iran may be cleaning nuclear work at military site, analysts say (ISRAEL HAYOM) Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff 05/10/12)
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Iran may be "erasing" evidence of nuclear weapons work at its Parchin
military complex near Tehran, according to a Washington-based
research institute´s analysis of satellite imagery • The U.N.´s
nuclear watchdog has expressed interest in inspecting the site, which
Iran has not allowed.
A U.S. security institute says commercial satellite imagery shows new
activity at an Iranian military site, raising concern that the
Islamic republic may be "washing" a building that the UN´s nuclear
agency wants to inspect.
Iran dismissed the report, as it has previously rejected allegations
about the Parchin complex, where the UN´s International Atomic Energy
Agency suspects research relevant to the production of nuclear
weapons may have taken place.
"They are joking with our nation," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman
Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students´ News
Agency. It is not possible to "wash" nuclear activities, he said.
Iran has yet to allow the IAEA to visit the facility southeast of
Tehran, despite repeated requests.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano reiterated last week that the agency had
recently noticed some "activities" there. He gave no details but
Western diplomats suspect Iran may be cleaning the site before any
inspection. Tehran denies this.
The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-
based think tank specializing in nuclear proliferation, said it had
acquired commercial satellite imagery from April 9 that supports the
"The new activity seen in the satellite image occurred outside a
building suspected to contain an explosive chamber used to carry out
nuclear weapons related experiments," the institute wrote on its
website in a May 8 report that includes the satellite image.
The images showed items lined up outside a building and what appeared
to be a stream of water, ISIS said. "The items visible outside the
building could be associated with the removal of equipment from the
building or with cleansing it," the statement said.
Iran´s mission to the IAEA has previously dismissed allegations aired
about Parchin as "childish" and "ridiculous."
U.S. sees Iranian obstruction
"The stream of water that appears to emanate from the building raises
concerns that Iran may have been washing inside the building, or
perhaps washing the items outside the building," ISIS said.
Previous satellite images from recent months did not show any similar
activity at the building, indicating it is not a regular occurrence,
The IAEA has said that gaining access to Parchin is a priority when
it holds a new round of talks with Iran in Vienna next week after two
previous meetings in Tehran failed to make any notable progress.
But Western diplomats said they would be surprised if Tehran granted
the request. Iran has suggested a broader agreement on future
cooperation with the IAEA must be reached before it will consider
letting inspectors into the site.
Western powers suspect Iran is seeking to develop the capability to
make nuclear bombs. Iran, one of the world´s largest oil producers,
says its program is peaceful.
An IAEA report late last year revealed a trove of intelligence
pointing to research activities in Iran of use in developing the
means and technologies needed to assemble nuclear weapons should it
decide to do so.
One finding in the report was information that Iran in 2000 had built
a large containment chamber at Parchin in which to conduct high-
explosives tests that the IAEA said are "strong indicators of
possible weapon development."
A senior U.S. official said on Tuesday that Iran must cooperate with
the IAEA´s investigation and provide access to relevant sites,
personnel and documents.
"Iran continues to delay and obstruct that process," Thomas
Countryman, assistant secretary for international security and
nonproliferation, told a meeting in Vienna.
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