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IAEA Wants Access to Iran Military Site

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it is making progress in tracking down the sources of contamination found on equipment in Iran. But the U.N. nuclear watchdog is calling for Iran to allow inspection of key sites to verify whether the Islamic republic's nuclear program is purely peaceful, as Tehran claims.

Mohamed ElBaradei
The IAEA board of governors heard a quarterly report from Mohamed ElBaradei, who was just reappointed as head of the agency for a third term.

IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky says the report notes progress on finding the origin of the low- and highly-enriched uranium contamination found in various locations in Iran, but says more work needs to be done.

"There we would really like to get more additional documentation from Iran, not only on the offers of equipment made to Iran, but also on the discussions between Iran and the intermediaries in the procurement network," he said.

The IAEA is investigating a nuclear black market once headed by a top Pakistani scientist with intermediaries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Pakistan is helping the IAEA in its efforts to understand the nature of the Iranian program and also to assess if nuclear technology is already in the hands of terrorist states or individuals.

Mr. Gwozdecky said the IAEA wants a team of experts to go back to some sites previously visited by inspectors Iran.

"Finally with regard to outstanding issues we also would like for Iran to facilitate our investigation in some sites in particular Lavisan-Shian and Parchin," he said. "We are working together with them to reach an agreement on modalities and we hope that will come to a conclusion very soon so that we can move forward our investigation in that area."

Experts visited Parchin earlier this year, but the Iranian authorities have not allowed a follow-up visit.

The IAEA is interested in military sites within the Iranian Defense Ministry where the United States suspects secret work on developing nuclear weapons is underway. Iran argues it is not obliged under international treaties to open military locations for inspection.