Iran hints military site access if overall deal with IAEA

Iran hinted Tuesday that inspection of the Parchin military site by the International Atomic Energy Agency would be possible in the context of a "comprehensive agreement" that recongnises its right to peaceful nuclear energy.

"We are ready to reach a comprehensive agreement with the (IAEA) in which the nuclear rights of our country, under the Non Proliferation Treaty, are recognised," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.

"Naturally under such agreement which includes the removal of ambiguities and concerns of the Agency, the issue of visiting Parchin military may be part of this agreement," Mehmanparast said at his weekly briefing.

An IAEA delegation is scheduled to arrive in Tehran for talks on Wednesday, the third such trip in the past three months aimed at reaching a deal on enhanced inspections. The team is headed by the UN atomic watchdog's chief inspector Herman Nackaerts.

The IAEA has pressed Iran for years to allow its inspectors into the Parchin military base near Tehran, where it believes activity relevant to nuclear weapons development took place.

But the Islamic republic says that the IAEA already visited Parchin twice in 2005 and found nothing untoward. The agency counters that new information obtained since then makes it want to go back.

The IAEA also says that because of activity at Parchin spotted by satellite, including moving "considerable" volumes of earth, its inspections there will be "seriously undermined" if it ever goes.

As a signatory of the NPT, Iran has to submit its nuclear facilities to inspection by the agency, but insists that Parchin is a military site and therefore not subject to the inspection.