Iran refuses entry to UN nuclear watchdog envoy

AP News
Posted: Oct 09, 2014 3:17 PM

VIENNA (AP) — A new U.N. effort to probe suspicions that Iran worked on atomic arms ended on a downbeat note Thursday, with diplomats saying that Tehran refused entry to Iran to a U.S. nuclear expert on the U.N.'s investigating team.

The diplomats also said that the trip this week didn't succeed in advancing a decade of U.N. efforts to investigate suspicions that Tehran worked on such weapons.

Iranian envoy Reza Najafi confirmed that an International Atomic Energy Agency staff member of a "particular nationality" was refused a visa.

The inquiry is formally separate from U.S.-led talks with Iran focused on long-term caps on Tehran's atomic programs in exchange for an end to nuclear-related sanctions, which resume next week in Vienna.

But Washington says a successful investigation by IAEA must be part of any final deal. That is unlikely by Nov. 24 — the target date for sealing a deal.

Two diplomats from IAEA member nations who spoke to The Associated Press demanded anonymity because their information is confidential. They said the U.S. expert had been repeatedly turned down since first applying for a visa eight months ago.

Iran says it doesn't want nuclear arms and never worked toward them. There has been little progress since Iran and the IAEA agreed late last year on a new effort to try and clear up the allegations.

The agency said Thursday that Iran presented no new proposals at the latest talks.

The Parchin military complex east of Tehran is suspected by the IAEA of being used to test of explosives meant to set off a nuclear charge. Earlier this week, Iranian opposition reports said there was a massive explosion at the site — something Iranian authorities denied.

The Institute for Science and Technology think tank on Thursday published satellite images that it said appeared to show a possible explosion at Parchin, but said it appeared to be some distance from the alleged nuclear work.