Iran tells nuclear inspectors: Forget about visits to Parchin
TEHRAN - Iran said the controversial Parchin military site is not included in an agreement it struck on Sunday with the UN atomic watchdog.
"Visiting Parchin is not included in the seven steps," said Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi.
His remarks, reported by the ISNA news agency, came after two days of talks in Tehran with experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), building on a roadmap deal agreed in November.
The new deal requires Tehran to implement seven steps by May 15, including visits to a uranium mine and yellowcake factory in central Iran.
The IAEA suspects explosive tests took place in Parchin, a military site near Tehran, that are "strong indicators of possible nuclear weapon development".
It has asked in vain for years to visit the facility, pointing to new information it has uncovered since its last visits to the site in 2005.
Six world powers negotiating with Iran on its current nuclear activities also called on Tehran in March 2012 to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site.
Iran says it has no obligation to do so, as Parchin is a designated military site.
IAEA director general Yukiya Amano is expected to brief the agency's broad of governors on the agreement's details.
ISNA news agency, citing an unnamed member of Iran's negotiating team, said they included "managed visits to the (uranium extraction) mine in Saghand and the yellowcake facility in Ardakan," where an impure state of uranium oxide is prepared to be fed into centrifuges for enrichment.
The plant in Ardakan, officially unveiled in April 2013, receives raw material from Saghand mine, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) away. It can reportedly produce up to 60 tonnes of yellowcake annually.
The ISNA report did not give dates for visits to the sites, but added that other parts of the deal entailed "divulging information and explanation regarding some remaining issues."
Describing the talks, Najafi said "constructive technical meetings" had assessed "the progress in implementation of practical steps" required of Iran under the framework deal agreed in November.
The deal required Tehran to take six practical steps that included a visit to the unfinished site of a so-called heavy water research reactor in Arak, where Iran is struggling with a series of delays in its construction.
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.
Amano had raised expectations last month that alleged weaponisation studies would be broached in future talks with Iran after he said last month that the time was ripe to ask "more difficult" questions.
How long this takes "very much depends on Iran. It can be quick or it can be long. It really depends on their cooperation," Amano said.