The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said yesterday that he was not confident there would be a breakthrough in talks with Iran over the country’s nuclear activities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet Iranian officials on Friday, more than two months after previous talks ended in failure, and will, again, pursue access to a military site that diplomats say may have been cleansed of evidence of illicit nuclear activity.
Visiting Iran’s Parchin complex has been a top priority for the IAEA after protracted Iranian attempts to thwart the UN agency’s visit to the suspected nuclear site. ”I cannot be too optimistic … We have been making our best efforts in a constructive spirit to work out an agreement between Iran and IAEA, but so far we have not been successful in reaching agreement,” Amano told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to Finland. “I have no indication this will change very soon,” he added.
Citing satellite images, Western officials in the past have indicated that Iran has demolished some small buildings and moved earth at Parchin in an apparent attempt to remove incriminating evidence from a site where the IAEA believe tests related to nuclear weapons were likely conducted.
Amano has said that the IAEA still want access to the site, but Iran’s efforts to sanitise Parchin could impede the agency’s inquiry. “Through the satellite imagery we think that Iran is moving soil, demolishing buildings, using water, removing fences, doing landscape activities. We think this would hamper our verification activities,” he said, echoing previous comments. “Nevertheless we keep on requesting Iran to give us access to the building at the site of Parchin.”
Iran denies accusations that it wants to develop nuclear weapons, saying it is pursuing civilian atomic energy only. However, Iran has refused to open up its nuclear work to IAEA inspectors, which has led to tough international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.