US alarm over Iranian 'nuclear site'

The US expressed alarm today about a possible Iranian nuclear weapons related test site and accused the UN nuclear watchdog agency of keeping silent on its own concerns about the issue.

The US expressed alarm today about a possible Iranian nuclear weapons related test site and accused the UN nuclear watchdog agency of keeping silent on its own concerns about the issue.

A senior member of the US delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors said Washington was suspicious that Iran’s Parchin complex, south-east of the capital, Tehran, is being used by the Islamic Republic to test high explosives, possibly with applications to nuclear weapons.

He spoke as US and European negotiators moved closer to agreement to censure Iran for reneging on a freeze on uranium enrichment and setting a deadline for Tehran to dispel suspicions it is trying to make nuclear arms.

“This is a serious omission,” on the part of IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei, said the official, alluding to the lack of specific mention on Parchin in a report written for the board by ElBaradei on the status of a probe into Iran’s nuclear activities.

The official said the United States would “go to the other board members” meeting in Vienna and make sure the suspicious site is considered in any Iran resolution submitted to the board meeting.

Iran said the suspicions were false.

“Parchin has nothing to do with nuclear-related activities,” said Hossein Mousavian, Tehran’s chief delegate to the board meeting.

He denied reports the IAEA had asked to visit the site but said agency inspectors could do so if they wanted.

“Iran is fully prepared for cooperation” on Parchin, he said.

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