x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Suspected Iranian nuclear site under surveillance

Satellite surveillance has shown increased activity at an Iranian site suspected of links to alleged secret work on nuclear arms, officials have claimed.

VIENNA // Satellite surveillance has shown increased activity at an Iranian site suspected of links to alleged secret work on nuclear arms, officials have claimed.

The report comes as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and nations tracking Iran’s nuclear programme increase efforts to monitor such areas.

One official said Tehran was trying to cover its tracks by sanitising the site and removing any evidence of nuclear research and development.

Two others confirmed sightings of increased activity.

In Washington, a Pentagon spokesman, Captain John Kirby, had “seen nothing to indicate those concerns are warranted”.

A structure is believed to be housing a large metal chamber at a military site, which an IAEA report this month described as being used for nuclear-related explosives testing.

An official said satellite imagery of the site, at Parchin, south-west of Tehran, showed increased activity, including an unusual number of vehicles arriving and leaving.

“Freight trucks, special haulage vehicles and cranes were seen entering and leaving. Some equipment and dangerous materials were removed from the site,” said a summary he provided.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s chief delegate to the IAEA, dismissed the reports as “childish stories”. He had not heard of any such activity, describing the claims as “ridiculous”.