Published : 2013-03-05 20:38
Updated : 2013-03-05 20:38
VIENNA (AFP) ― The head of the U.N. atomic agency called Monday on Iran to grant access to a military base where Tehran allegedly conducted nuclear weapons research, without waiting for an elusive wider accord.
“I request Iran once again to provide access to the Parchin site without further delay, whether or not agreement has been reached on the structured approach,” Yukiya Amano told an International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meeting.
“Providing access to the Parchin site would be a positive step which would help to demonstrate Iran’s willingness to engage with the Agency on the substance of our concerns,” he said, according to the text of his remarks at the closed-door gathering.
He told a later news conference that this would be a “confidence-building” measure and that the agency was already given access to Parchin in 2005, albeit “to a different building.”
“At that time there was no document, so why cannot Iran do the same and give us access this time,” he said.
Iran has refused to give the IAEA access to places, documents and scientists involved in what the agency suspects were efforts, mostly in the past but possibly ongoing, to develop nuclear weapons.
More than a year of meetings, the latest on February 13 in Tehran, have failed to agree on a so-called “structured approach” deal to address all the allegations, which were summarised in a major IAEA report in November 2011.
Amano said Monday that “negotiations must proceed with a sense of urgency”
and that he “would like to report real progress by the next meeting of the next (IAEA) board meeting in June.”
Tehran says that the IAEA’s conclusions about the “possible military dimensions” of its programme are based on flawed information from Western and Israeli spy agencies, information that it says it has not been allowed to see.
It denies working or ever having worked on nuclear weapons and says that no nuclear activities have taken place at the Parchin military base near Tehran and that therefore the IAEA has no right to conduct inspections there.