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Iran has rejected a request by U.N. nuke inspectors to return to a military base the U.S. suspects is being used as part of a plan to build a nuclear bomb.

The deputy chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pierre Goldschmidt, quoted Tehran’s response in a speech to the IAEA board: “The expectation of the (IAEA) in visiting specified … points in Parchin Complex are fulfilled and thus there is no justification for an additional visit.”

Inspectors had visited the Parchin Complex in January, but they went only to specific areas covered by that inspection, Reuters quotes the agency as saying.

The Bush administration has accused Iran’s ruling mullahs of working toward building a nuke, while the regime in Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are for peaceful energy production only.

Despite the rejection, Goldschmidt defended Iran’s record, saying Tehran had “facilitated in a timely manner agency access to nuclear materials and facilities” as required under its IAEA Safeguards Agreement and the Additional Protocol allowing more intrusive, short-notice inspections.

Reuters reported Iran’s senior delegate to the IAEA meeting, Sirus Naseri, said the fact the agency had been allowed into a secure military complex like Parchin at all was itself significant.

“The mere fact that Iran has in the context of transparency provided such access is a matter that is significant and should be considered in that context,” Naseri told the news agency.

Goldschmidt also said a December visit to a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan had “revealed extensive underground excavation activities which Iran had failed to report in a timely manner to the agency as required.”

Iran claims the excavation was part of the digging of a tunnel under the plant that it said could be used to protect equipment in case of a U.S. or Israeli attack.

This excavation was the digging of a tunnel under the Isfahan plant, which Iran has said could be used to store equipment for protection in case of U.S. or Israeli attack.



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