VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran dismissed Western suspicions of atomic bomb research as “wrong and fabricated” on Thursday and said it would be ready to prove this by giving the U.N. nuclear agency access to a site where explosives experiments allegedly had taken place.
However, the main priority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been to go to another location, the Parchin military facility southeast of Tehran, and not the western region of Marivan now offered by Iran. Tehran has so far refused access to Parchin.
Iran’s envoy made the statement to an IAEA board meeting after the European Union said it deeply regretted Iran’s failure to address the U.N. agency’s concerns.
The exchange coincided with negotiations between Iran and six world powers - also in Vienna - aimed at reaching a comprehensive deal by Monday to end a 12-year dispute over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.
Western officials say Iran must step up cooperation with the IAEA’s long-stalled inquiry into allegations that it has worked on designing a nuclear bomb as part of a wider diplomatic deal.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano told the board that Iran had yet to provide explanations needed for its investigation.
The 28-nation EU said in a statement at the IAEA meeting: “The EU deeply regrets the lack of progress on PMD (possible military dimensions) issues.”
Iranian Ambassador Reza Najafi said suspicions of illicit nuclear related activity were based on “wrong and fabricated information as well as some forged documents full of mistakes”.
He said a few member states, an apparent reference to Israel and the United States, had provided the information to the IAEA.
To prove them wrong, Najafi said Iran would be ready to give the IAEA “one managed access” to Marivan, a region mentioned in an IAEA report in 2011 on suspected activities by Iran that could be relevant for developing nuclear weapons.
“Such alleged experiments could easily be traced if the exact site would be visited,” Najafi said. “We are sure that those allegations like the other ones are fake.”
The 2011 report cited information from one member state - not identified - as indicating that “large scale high explosive experiments were conducted” in Marivan region a decade ago.
There was no immediate IAEA comment on Thursday.
Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Ralph Boulton