Claims of Iranian nuclear site 'clean-up' are rejected

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The Independent Online

Iran has denied allegations that it attempted to clean up radioactive traces possibly left by secret nuclear work at a key military site before granting UN inspectors permission to visit the facility.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, said yesterday that the allegations were false, and insisted that such traces could not be cleaned up.

Satellite images of the Parchin military facility that emerged last week appeared to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the location. That set off claims by diplomats, all of whom were nuclear experts accredited to the UN nuclear agency in Vienna but speaking on condition of anonymity, about a clean-up operation. The claims added to tensions surrounding Iran's nuclear programme, which the West fears is geared toward weapons-making but Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.

"Those who are familiar with nuclear physics know that these comments are not remarkable in any way," Mr Mehmanparast said. "This is mainly public speculation and not based on logic."

Inspecting Parchin was a key request made by the IAEA teams that visited Tehran in January and February.