Thursday, February 22, 2018

U.S. urges Iran to allow inspection of nuclear site

VIENNA — A U.S. envoy challenged Iran on Tuesday to disprove suspicions it had worked to develop nuclear arms by throwing open a military site to U.N. inspection. He also urged Tehran to curb uranium enrichment, noting that, with further work, the material it has already amassed would be enough for use in several atomic bombs.

Robert Wood spoke to the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency as it turned its attention to Iran's nuclear program and concerns it could be turned into making weapons — a fear that has generated threats of military action from both Israel and the United States if diplomacy fails to persuade Tehran to compromise.

The IAEA late last month showed board members satellite photos that its officials and diplomats said seemed to show Iran moving earth and hosing down the insides of a building at its Parchin military site, southeast of Tehran. That, they said, has strengthened suspicions that Tehran is trying to cleanse the area of evidence of secret work on high explosives used to set off a nuclear charge.

Tehran has strenuously denied such experiments while refusing to let IAEA experts visit the facility for more than three months. Wood on Tuesday questioned its alleged actions and motives, saying "if Iran has nothing to hide, why deny the agency access and carry out these apparent cleanup efforts?"

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