Iran: U.N. can visit secret military complex
(CBS/AP) TEHRAN, Iran - Iran says it will allow U.N. inspectors access to a secret military complex where the U.N. nuclear agency suspects secret atomic work has been carried out.
In a statement issued by the country's permanent envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran says it will allow U.N. officials to visit the Parchin complex, southeast of Tehran in a gesture of good will.
The statement says the visit requires an agreement on guidelines for the inspection. It was carried by the official ISNA news agency Tuesday. There was no indication of how much freedom IAEA officials will have on their tour of Parchin.
Also Tuesday, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, who are demanding that Iran freeze all uranium enrichment, said they have accepted an offer to resume talks with Tehran on the nuclear issue.
For years, Iran has executed a dual strategy of taking steps to advance its nuclear program while proposing more talks, which some critics have dismissed as a time-buying tactic.
Tuesday's announcements come less than two weeks after IAEA experts returned from Tehran from their second failed attempt within a month to persuade Iran to end nearly four years of stonewalling on what the agency says is growing intelligence-based information that Iran has worked -- and may still be working -- on components of a nuclear weapons program.
In a report issued last year, the IAEA cited the construction of a large containment chamber at Parchin as evidence that the Islamic Republic was planning to test high-explosives - evidence the nuclear watchdog said was a "strong" indicator of weapons development.
Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the production of energy and radioactive isotopes for medical use, not creating an atomic weapon.
Israel, the United States, and many other countries believe Iran is aggressively trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
In a White House meeting Monday, President Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to persuade Iran to halt its enrichment program, amid fears that Israel may launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran with little or no warning.
In a joint appearance with Netanyahu before the two men met at the White House, Mr. Obama called Israel one of America's "greatest allies" and deemed the bond between the two nations "unbreakable."
But underlying the positive rhetoric were U.S. fears that Israel is moving too quickly toward military action against Iran. Administration sources say Netanyahu told Mr. Obama in private that Israel hasn't made a decision yet on whether to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, but the prime minister voiced impatience with diplomatic efforts in a speech to American Jewish supporters.
"(Israel has) waited for diplomacy to work, we've waited for sanctions to work. We cannot afford to wait much longer. ... I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation," Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Monday night.
Prior to the Iranian announcement Tuesday, the head of the IAEA said Iran recently increased its uranium enrichment, and he criticized the country for refusing to let the agency's inspectors investigate suspicions about its weapons program.
"The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program," IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said on Monday.
Recent moves to boost uranium enrichment at Fordo, an underground Iranian facility that may be able to withstand aerial attack, are of particular concern.
Popular on CBSNews.com
- Photos of the week 22 Photos
- Graphic video: Man dead in "truly shocking" London attack Play Video
- Bangladesh slum life 13 Photos
- Toronto mayor: I don't smoke crack cocaine
- London brutal attack probe nets additional arrests
- Inside a Bangladesh garment factory 10 Photos
- NKorean envoy delivers letter to China's president
- Deadly car bombing at aid group's house in Kabul