UN nuclear watchdog: Iran building extension at disputed military site

Diplomats say any activity at Parchin military site could undermine the ability to check if nuclear bomb tests happened there.

Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran (photo credit: REUTERS)
Satellite image shows a nuclear facility in Iran
(photo credit: REUTERS)
VIENNA - Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the UN nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday delving into a major part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran's past atomic activity.
A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Parchin file, which includes a demand for IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran's July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said: "Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building appears to have [been] constructed."
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Diplomats say any activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since 2012 are likely to have undermined the agency's ability to verify intelligence suggesting Tehran previously conducted tests there relevant to nuclear bomb detonations.
Under a "roadmap" accord Iran reached with the IAEA parallel to its groundbreaking deal with the global powers, the Islamic Republic is required to give the Vienna-based watchdog enough information about its past nuclear activity to allow to write a report on the long-vexed issue by year end.
"Full and timely implementation of the relevant parts of the road-map is essential to clarify issues relating to this location at Parchin," the new IAEA report said.
Iran has for years been stonewalling the PMD investigation but delivered on a promise under the roadmap to provide more information by August 15.
IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said on Tuesday that the agency had received substantive amounts of information from Iran although it was too early to say whether any of it is new.