VIENNA (Reuters) - A senior U.S. official said on Tuesday that Iran was carrying out apparent clean-up efforts at a military site, Parchin, that the U.N. nuclear watchdog wants to visit as part of a probe into suspected atom bomb research in the Islamic state.
Robert Wood, acting head of the U.S. mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also told the IAEA’s 35-nation board that Iran had produced enough low-enriched uranium for several nuclear weapons if refined further to high levels.
“Iran has actually accelerated its production of low-enriched uranium,” Wood said, according to a copy of his statement.
“There appears no immediate peaceful need for such stockpiles or for such an acceleration of the programme, and we would note that this quantity of low-enriched uranium is enough for several nuclear weapons if further enriched to higher levels.”
Iran says it is enriching uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power stations and denies Western accusations that it is trying to develop a capability to assemble nuclear bombs, should it decide to do so.
Wood said the United States was deeply concerned that Iran continued to refuse to grant the IAEA access to the Parchin facility, where the U.N. agency suspects Iran has conducted explosives tests that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on Monday that satellite images indicated that buildings were being demolished and soil removed at Parchin, about 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Tehran.
Western diplomats suspect Iran is trying to remove any incriminating evidence from the site before possibly allowing IAEA inspectors to go there.
“If Iran has nothing to hide, why deny the Agency access and carry out these apparent cleanup efforts?” Wood said.
Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Tim Pearce