[QODLink]
Middle East
Iran's military slams nuclear cover-up claims
Defence chief denies UN allegations that Iran tried to hide traces of nuclear programme at Parchin site.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2012 17:30
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports live from Tehran

Iran's military has denied claims by the UN nuclear watchdog that it demolished buildings at a base in a suspected attempt to cover up nuclear testing, state media has reported.

The report quoted Ahmad Vahidi, Iran's defence minister, as saying allegations that Iran tried to erase evidence at the Parchin military base were "irrelevant and unwise".

Iranian officials have issued similar denials over the past few weeks but this is the first by the defence minister, under whose authority the base falls.

In-depth coverage of a growing regional debate 

"The allegations are aimed at affecting nuclear talks in Moscow," Vahidi was quoted as saying, referring to the upcoming round of negotiations between Iran and six world powers in the Russian capital over Tehran's nuclear programme. 

The West suspects Iran is trying to develop weapons technology but Iran says its programme is for peaceful purposes.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency showed to its member nations satellite images indicating a cleanup of the site, saying the photos depicted water streaming out of one building, the razing of several other buildings and removal of earth at the facility.

The activities at the Parchin military base southeast of Tehran are a recent IAEA concern, while Iran says Parchin is a conventional military base. 

On Sunday, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, said that Iran will not block access for the IAEA inspectors to Parchin, "if both Iran and the agency reach an agreement on the modality" of a visit.

He said both sides will soon agree to a new round of the talks on the issue. So far, talks have led to little progress in resolving the dispute.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, will visit Iran on Wednesday to discuss the upcoming talks in Moscow on Tehran's nuclear programme, as well as the Syria crisis, his ministry said.

"The focus of attention will be on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, with the emphasis on the current transformation processes taking place in the Arab world and Syria," news agencies quoted a foreign ministry official as saying on Monday.

345

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.