Activity at Iran military site: watchdog

2012-03-05 19:11

Vienna - The UN atomic agency chief said on Monday he had information of "activities" at Iran's Parchin military complex, which made a trip there by inspectors probing suspected weapons work all the more important.

"We are aware of some activities at Parchin... and this makes us believe that going there sooner is better than going there later," Yukiya Amano told reporters at International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters in Vienna.

The Iaea said in a major report in November that it believed Iran had carried out high-explosives tests in a bus-sized metal container at Parchin near Tehran that it suspected were aimed at developing a nuclear weapon.

Two visits to Iran this year led by chief inspector Herman Nackaerts were refused access to the site, according to the Iaea. Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons and has said the November report was based on fabricated intelligence.

Amano told a news conference on the sidelines of an Iaea board of governors meeting that Iran had made a last-minute offer to Nackaerts and his team to visit another site, Marivan, that was mentioned in the November report.

The offer came "only a few hours" before the team was due to leave and was therefore rejected, Amano said.

The Iaea said after the latest visit, branded a "failure" by Washington, that "major differences" existed between Tehran and the agency on the way forward.

A new report meanwhile said last month that Iran has substantially ramped up the enrichment of uranium, in defiance of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, to 20% purity.

Uranium enriched to 90% can be used in a nuclear bomb.

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