IAEA Chief Visits Disputed Iranian Military Site
September 20, 2015
The head of the UN nuclear agency has visited a disputed Iranian military site as part of the agency's investigation into whether Iran carried out work related to developing a nuclear weapon.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Yukiya Amano traveled to the site, called Parchin, on September 20.
Parchin has been at the center of a debate over the access that agency will have in policing the nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers two months ago.
The scope of Amano's visit to Parchin wasn't immediately clear. Iranian state media described it as ceremonial rather than an inspection of the sprawling site.
Western intelligence agencies have said Parchin might be the site of a potential chemical, explosives, and munitions production since the 1990s. Western diplomats have said nuclear arms-related research may have occurred there later.
Tehran has denied conducting research related to nuclear weapons at Parchin or anywhere else in the country, saying its efforts are aimed at electricity generation, medical research, and other civilian uses.
Earlier on September 20, Amano met senior Iranian officials in Tehran, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
During his visit, Amano is expected to push for long-delayed interviews with Iranian scientists linked to alleged experiments as well as discuss Parchin.
The IAEA had said it had sent Iran questions over 'ambiguities' in its submissions relating to the assessment of its past activities.
IAEA access to Parchin was one of the most sensitive issues during negotiations that led to the July 14 deal between Iran and world powers, which provides for restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.
Under that deal, sanctions will not be lifted until Iran resolves outstanding IAEA questions about past research that Western powers suspect was related to weapons development.
Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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