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September 9, 2015 8:46 am

Iranian Atomic Envoy: Construction at Parchin Not the IAEA’s Concern

avatar by David Daoud

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A satellite image of the Parchin site. Photo: AP/Institute for Science.

A satellite image of the Parchin site. Photo: AP/Institute for Science.

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stressed his country’s position that the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog was not authorized to inspect Tehran’s construction activities at the Parchin military site southeast of Tehran, the pro-regime Iranian news agency, Tasnim, reported on Tuesday.

Reza Najafi asserted, “Parchin is a conventional military site, in which construction is a normal issue, and it is not the agency’s concern.”

Najafi was responding to IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano’s repeated concerns that work at the site could “undermine the capability” of the IAEA to verify past activities Iran had engaged in there.

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“The issue is so clear,” Najafi said, “that even U.S. officials have acknowledged it.”

To back up this claim, the Tasnim report quoted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who called Parchin a “conventional military site, not a nuclear site. So there wouldn’t be any IAEA or other restrictions on new construction at a site were they to occur.”

However, Israeli intelligence agencies have previously stated that Iran has been secretly using its Parchin military site to test technologies that can only be used for detonating nuclear weapons.

Both the IAEA and U.S. intelligence have concurred with the Israeli assessment, long suspecting that Iranian scientists were experimenting at Parchin with high-explosive detonators for nuclear weapons.

Late last month, the Associated Press revealed that the IAEA had signed a secret side deal with Iran, which would allow Tehran to use its own inspectors to investigate the Parchin military site, where it has long been suspected of conducting nuclear-weapons work.

The agreement would task Iranian personnel with providing the IAEA with the photos, videos and environmental samples from the Parchin complex, which are vital to determining Iran’s past nuclear-related activities at the site.

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