August 22, 2012 - 21:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The UN nuclear watchdog chief played down chances of a breakthrough when talks with Iran resume on Friday, Aug 24 but said the agency would pursue access to a military site that diplomats say may have been cleansed of evidence of illicit nuclear activity, Reuters reported.
Visiting the Parchin complex has become a priority for the International Atomic Energy Agency as it seeks to end what the West sees as Iranian stonewalling of an IAEA investigation into allegations that Tehran has sought to design a nuclear weapon.
"I cannot be too optimistic ... We have been making our best efforts in a constructive spirit to work out an agreement between Iran and IAEA, but so far we have not been successful in reaching agreement," agency Director General Yukiya Amano told reporters on Wednesday during a visit to Finland.
"I have no indication this will change very soon," he said.
Citing satellite images, Western diplomats say Iran has demolished some small buildings and moved earth at Parchin in an apparent attempt to purge incriminating evidence from a site where the IAEA believe tests in a steel chamber relevant to nuclear arms were carried out, possibly a decade ago.
Amano said the IAEA still wanted access, but that apparent efforts to sanitize Parchin could impede the agency's inquiry.
"Through the satellite imagery we think that Iran is moving soil, demolishing buildings, using water, removing fences, doing landscape activities. We think this would hamper our verification activities," he said, echoing previous comments.
"Nevertheless we keep on requesting Iran to give us access to the building at the site of Parchin." Iran denies accusations that it wants to develop nuclear arms technology, saying it is after civilian atomic energy only.