Permission Not Granted to Visit Parchin Military Base
The IAEA officials and inspectors left Iran on Wednesday after their talks with the Iranian officials on possible military dimensions of the country’s nuclear program collapsed in disagreement over a visit to a suspected site. The issue of contention was the IAEA team’s insistence to visit Parchin military base, southeast of Tehran, reportedly the R&D site for nuclear weapons, and the Iranian government’s refusal to grant permission.
“During both the first and second round of discussions, the agency team requested access to the military site at Parchin. Iran did not grant permission for this visit to take place,” the IAEA said in a statement [Reuters, 22 February].
An IAEA report in November suggested Iran had pursued military nuclear technology.
“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin. We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached,” IAEA Director General Youkiya Amano said in Vienna [Reuters, 22 February].
Meanwhile in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressing defiance during an address broadcast on national TV, said Iran’s nuclear program will not change despite international pressure.
“With God's help, and without paying attention to propaganda, Iran's nuclear course should continue firmly and seriously,” Ayatollah Khamenie said. “Pressures, sanctions and assassinations will bear no fruit. No obstacles can stop Iran's nuclear work,” he added [IRIB, 22 February].
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the US was evaluating Iran's intentions.
“This particular action (refusal to grant permission to IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin) by Iran suggests that they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international obligations,” Carney told reporters [Reuters, 22 February].
The collapse of the IAEA talks occurred as Iran had given strong signals in recent days of its willingness to reopen nuclear talks with the six major powers, the so-called P5+1. It was not immediately clear how the preparations for those talks, proposed by Iran to be held in Istanbul, could now advance.