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IAEA sees ‘demolishing’ of buildings at Iran nuclear site

Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh gets ready for the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center, in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, June 4, 2012.

Ronald Zak/AP

Satellite images indicate that buildings are being demolished at an Iranian military site the United Nations nuclear watchdog wants to visit, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Monday, stressing the need for his inspectors to go there.

Mr. Amano's comments will likely further reinforce suspicions among Western diplomats that Iran is trying to remove any incriminating evidence from the Parchin facility before possible granting the International Atomic Energy Agency access.

The veteran Japanese diplomat also told a press conference he hoped that an agreement could be reached soon with Iran to resume a long-stalled investigation by the agency into suspected atomic weapons research in the Islamic Republic.

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The IAEA and Iran - which denies the charges - will hold a new meeting on June 8 in Vienna and Mr. Amano said the two sides had narrowed their differences in previous rounds of talks, suggesting he believed a deal could be close.

He made clear again that the IAEA wanted access as soon as possible to Parchin, a sprawling site southeast of Tehran where the UN agency believes Iran may have carried out high explosives tests relevant for nuclear weapons development.

Asked about satellite images of the site which the IAEA showed diplomats at a closed-door briefing last week, Mr. Amano said: "The satellite imagery indicates that these activities include the use of water, demolishing of buildings, removing fences and moving soil. These are some of the activities that we have observed through satellite imagery."

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