Iran will not give UN nuclear inspectors access to a military base outside Tehran that they have been seeking to visit since 2005, Defence Minister Hossein Dehgan said on Saturday.
Dehgan’s comments, reported by the ISNA news agency, came just two days before a deadline for Iran to answer historic allegations of a military dimension to its nuclear research.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Yukiya Amano, who visited Tehran earlier this month, had said in June that access to the Parchin base was essential for the watchog to be able to certify Iran’s nuclear programme as peaceful.
The base lies at the centre of allegations of past Iranian research into sophisticated explosives that can be used to detonate a nuclear warhead.
In his June report, Amano said satellite photographs suggested that new research was also being carried out at the base this year.
“Since February this year, we again start to observe activities… these activities continue,” he said.
Iran has repeatedly refused the IAEA access to the base but “we keep on insisting to have access to that particular site in Parchin, to the people and to their documents,” Amano said in the report.