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Iran: Claims of explosives' clean-up at Parchin military facility are 'propaganda'

Satellite images of Iran’s Parchin military facility which circulated last week appeared to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the location, causing nuclear experts to speculate about a clean-up operation.

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Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has said that claims Iran is cleaning up evidence of nuclear activity at Parchin military site are "propaganda." (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)

Nuclear experts' claims that Iran is cleaning up an explosives site at Parchin military facility have been called "propaganda" by Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast, Tehran Times reported

A US non-proliferation expert said Tuesday that he had identified a building at the Parchin site which contained a high-explosive test chamber, Reuters reported. David Albright, the founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, said in a report that he found the site on satellite images of a small, isolated compound at the facility that matched a description in a November 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, the Daily Beast reported

The satellite images of the military site circulated last week, and appeared to show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at Parchin, which caused nuclear experts to speculate about a clean-up operation, the Associated Press reported.

Iran denied any attempt to clean up the site. 

“Those who are familiar with nuclear physics know that these comments are not remarkable in any way,’’ Mehmanparast told reporters. “This is mainly public speculation and not based on logic. Basically, nuclear military activities are not cleanable, at all."

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He did not directly discuss the satellite photos, but asserted that Parchin has been conducting "conventional military activities," according to the AP. 

Albright, a former UN weapons inspector, explained that the building in question is notable because it "is located on a relatively small and isolated compound within the Parchin military site and has its own perimeter security wall or fencing. A berm can be seen between this building and a neighboring building," CNN International reported

Iran rejected two requests by IAEA delegations to inspect the Parchin site during their January and February visits, Tehran Times reported. Western diplomats say Iran may be delaying access to give it time to clear any incriminating evidence of explosive tests that would indicate efforts to build or test nuclear weapons from the facility.

Parchin is used for research, development and production of ammunition, rockets and high explosives, according to CNN, and the IAEA has only been granted one limited tour of Parchin, in 2005. 

"We have information that some activity is ongoing there," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said recently, referring to Parchin, Reuters reported.

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Iran indicated it would allow inspections at Parchin "within the framework of an agreement between Iran and the agency," Mehmanparast said. No date has been set for a visit from IAEA inspectors, and it is still unclear what conditions might be set, CNN reported. 

Iran has said on multiple occasions that it will not halt its nuclear activities. 

“What is certain is that all countries have the right to use nuclear knowhow for peaceful activities to make progress, and the Islamic Republic of Iran has definitely taken the lead in this campaign,” Mehmanparast said, according to Tehran Times. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120314/iran-explosives-chamber-parchin-propaganda