Washington, Aug. 28 — Diplomats visiting Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit this week won't get to see Iran’s Parchin nuclear site, despite hints by a top Iranian official.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh had earlier suggested visiting NAM officials might be allowed to tour the Parchin military base near Tehran where Iran is believed to have tested explosives that could be used in developing a nuclear device.
Some 120 nations are represented at the summit, including many foreign ministers and some heads of government. U.N. Secretary General Ban-ki-Moon rejected pleas to stay away and is in attendance, as is Egypt’s new President Mohamed Morsi.
But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast nixed the idea of any of these dignitaries visiting Parchin or any other Iranian nuclear facility.
“We have no specific plans for a visit to Iran's nuclear installations by those participating in the summit of NAM member countries,” he said. Iran has also refused to allow inspectors from the U.N. atomic watchdog agency to visit Parchin, turning down their latest request last week.
Officials with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) say Iran may have used the area, 19 miles (30 km) southeast of the Iranian capital, to test nuclear-related explosives years ago. Nuclear watchdogs believe the area has been cleaned up to remove evidence of its past use in recent months.
IAEA experts believe the Iranians carried out nuclear simulation tests, called "hydrodynamic experiments," in which fissile and nuclear components are replaced with surrogate material, at Parchin. Such experiments would be strong indicators of possible weapon development, the IAEA said.
Iran has ignored demands by the international community to halt or make transparent its nuclear program. The United Nations, United States and the European Union have passed several sets of sanctions on Iran in an attempt to get the Islamic republic to curb it weapons program.
Iran has repeatedly called for Israel to be destroyed and frequently condemns and makes threatens against the West. Iran also denies the Holocaust, provides training, arms and money to proxies such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon and has vowed to share its nuclear technology with like-minded countries.
In the most recent such declaration, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative to the IAEA, said: "We will not suspend enrichment for even one second."
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi began summit on Sunday with a plea to the Non-Aligned nations to oppose sanctions against Iran.