Iran denies inspectors access to suspected nuclear facility

2004 satellite image of the military complex at Parchin, Iran (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe - Institute for Science and International Security)

2004 satellite image of the military complex at Parchin, Iran                                                                                    (photo credit: AP/DigitalGlobe – Institute for Science and International Security)

Atomic energy chief says operations at Arak heavy water reactor to continue; thousands protest nuclear deal in Tehran

(SOURCE)  Iran’s atomic energy organization on Saturday said it was denying international inspectors access to the suspected nuclear facility at Parchin, stating the IAEA was not entitled to visit the military complex outside the Iranian capital of Iran.

“Legally, they are not entitled to visit Parchin since we have not accepted and are not exercising the Additional Protocol (to the NPT),” the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran’s Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency saying.

 Iran has stated that it has no obligation to grant the IAEA access to the site, arguing that Parchin’s designation as a military site puts it off-limits to inspections and is not included in the deal reached with world powers last year.

The Parchin military site has been a sticking point in long-running discussions between Iran and the IAEA; the agency suspects explosive tests took place that are “strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development.”

Meanwhile, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the AEOI, told Iranian media Saturday that operations at the heavy water reactor in Arak would continue.

The Arak reactor is of international concern because it could theoretically provide Iran with a second route to a nuclear bomb — an alternative to highly enriched uranium — through extraction of weapons-grade plutonium from spent fuel if it also builds a reprocessing facility.

Iran’s enrichment activities are in defiance of repeated UN Security Council demands and resolutions, amid suspicions in the West and Israel that Tehran’s nuclear drive masks military objectives, a claim it has repeatedly denied.

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