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Photo shows suspicious activity at Iranian military site

- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2012

A recent satellite photo appears to show clean-up activity at an Iranian military site that U.N. nuclear inspectors want to visit and that experts suspect may have been used to test a trigger for an atomic weapon, scientists said this week.

The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a nonprofit that monitors the Iranian nuclear program, published on its website Wednesday the photo of Iran's Parchin military base.

U.N. nuclear inspectors repeatedly have asked Tehran for access to Parchin, where scientists suspect a building houses a special blast containment chamber that may have been used to test a trigger for a nuclear weapon.

In a report analyzing the image, ISIS said it showed unidentified items lined up outside the chamber and what appears to be a stream of water from or near the building.

The photo was taken last month after inspectors first requested access to the building.

"These activities raise concerns that Iran is removing items and washing equipment or the building itself," the ISIS report concludes.

Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the U.S. and its allies have said Tehran is developing the capability to make a nuclear weapon.

Whether Iran grants U.N. inspectors access to the chamber is considered a litmus test of its seriousness in current international talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

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