NASSER KARIMI | Associated Press
Published — Wednesday 13 February 2013
Last update 12 February 2013 11:01 pm
TEHRAN: Iran’s Foreign Ministry yesterday raised prospects that Tehran may allow inspectors from the UN nuclear agency to visit a military site where the country is suspected of conducting nuclear-related experiments.
A ministry spokesman said the upcoming talks with a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency could lead to a visit to the site — if a “deal” was struck with the Iranian side.
The IAEA inspectors are due for talks in Tehran on Wednesday in hopes of restarting a probe into the country’s disputed nuclear program, which the West fears masks ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon.
The agency in particular wants to visit Parchin, southeast of Tehran, where Iran is suspected of testing components needed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such activity, insisting that Parchin is only a conventional military site.
“Discussion over visiting Parchin could be part of a deal” with the IAEA inspectors, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters yesterday. He did not say when a visit to Parchin could take place.
“The prospect of reaching an agreement with the agency is bright, if Iran’s nuclear rights are recognized,” Mehmanparast added.
Mehmanparast said in a veiled warning the IAEA should not escalate the Iranian nuclear case by referring it to the UN Security Council, saying such a move would be “illogical and illegal.”
A senior IAEA official predicted hard work ahead for the UN team in the Tehran talks. The two sides are trying to agree on the rules of how the probe should be conducted, with the Iran resisting an IAEA push that the investigation be open-ended.