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Inspectors Blocked from Iranian Nuclear Site

February 24, 2012

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection team left Iran this week after officials there blocked inspectors from accessing a military site in Parchin that may have been used for tests to develop a nuclear weapon. The IAEA press release states:

22 February 2012 | A senior IAEA expert team is returning from Iran after two days of discussions with Iranian officials held on 20 and 21 February 2012. The meeting followed previous discussions held on 29 to 31 January 2012.

During both the first and second round of discussions, the Agency team requested access to the military site at Parchin. Iran did not grant permission for this visit to take place.

Intensive efforts were made to reach agreement on a document facilitating the clarification of unresolved issues in connection with Iran’s nuclear programme, particularly those relating to possible military dimensions. Unfortunately, agreement was not reached on this document.

“It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said. “We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached.”

Following the visit, Iranian officials announced new terms for oil sales to the European Union (see our previous post on that topic here). Iran has already preempted an EU oil embargo (scheduled to be implemented this summer) by cutting off oil sales to Britain and France. On Monday, it warned that it might also block sales to other members of the EU. For more on Iran’s oil sales to the EU see these stories from Reuters, the Washington Post, and GobalPost.com.

As tensions rise there is also speculation that Israel may be planning a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran has also accused Israel of attacking Iranian diplomats and assassinating nuclear scientists (see here). In response, the deputy head of Iran’s armed forces, Mohammad Hejazi, has stated that “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions” (reported in the New York Times here).

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