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UN Atom chief doesn’t rule out Iran ‘cleaning’ army site

UN Atom chief doesn’t rule out Iran ‘cleaning’ army site

The UN nuclear watchdog does not rule out that Iran may be trying to clean up a military site inspectors want to visit as part of an investigation into possible Iranian research relevant to atomic bombs, the agency's chief said on Friday.

March 10, 2012 4:48 by

Iran refused access to the Parchin military complex, southeast of Tehran, during two rounds of talks with a senior team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Tehran earlier this year.

Western diplomats say Iran may be delaying inspectors’ access to the site to give it time to sanitize the facility of any incriminating evidence of explosives tests that would indicate efforts to design nuclear weapons.

“We have information that some activity is ongoing there,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told Reuters in an interview.

Asked whether he was concerned that Iran may be trying to whitewash the site, he said: “That possibility is not excluded … We cannot say for sure because we are not there.”

Amano earlier this week said there were indications of “activities” at Parchin but did not give any details of what these might be. Recent satellite pictures point to possible cleanup operations at Parchin, Western diplomats say.

Iran, which rejects Western accusations that its nuclear programme is a covert bid to develop atomic bombs, has dismissed suspicions about Parchin as “ridiculous” and “childish”.

“As we have not yet access to Parchin, we don’t have detailed information but we have some information and that information is sensitive,” Amano said. (Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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