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Iran Rebuffs IAEA

Herman Nackaerts, center, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, is interviewed as he arrives after his flight from Iran at Vienna's Schwechat airport, Austria, February 22, 2012.

“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin."

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently insisted that Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. But his government rejected the opportunity to help demonstrate that to the international community during a visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, from February 20th to the 21st.

The IAEA officials, led by Deputy Director General for Safeguards Hermann Nackaerts, requested permission to visit the Parchin military base outside of Tehran. In its November 2011 report on Iran’s nuclear program, the IAEA had cited concerns that Parchin may have been used as a site to conduct high explosive tests of components for a nuclear weapon.

“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings,” said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in a statement.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. regrets “the failure of Iran to reach an agreement ... with the IAEA that would permit the agency to fully investigate the serious allegations raised in its November report:

“It’s important to note that the IAEA maintains regular access to both of Iran’s enrichment facilities at Qom and Natanz. The IAEA was seeking additional access – that’s what this visit was about – in line with Iran’s safeguards obligations – to sites and facilities where Iran is suspected of conducting work related to weaponization activity.”

White House spokesman Carney said the Iranian leaders’ refusal to grant the IAEA’s request to visit Parchin unfortunately “suggests they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international nuclear obligations.”