WASHINGTON — A U.S. non-proliferation expert said on Tuesday that he has identified a building at the Parchin military site in Iran suspected of containing — now or previously — a high-explosive test chamber the U.N. nuclear watchdog wants to visit.
David Albright, founder of the Institute for Science and International Security, said he studied commercial satellite imagery and found a building located on a relatively small and isolated compound at Parchin that fit a description in the November 2011 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report.
The building has its own perimeter security wall or fencing and there is a berm between the building and a neighboring building, Albright said in a report.
The compound is located more than 2.5 kilometers away from high-explosive related facilities at Parchin the IAEA visited in 2005, Albright's report said.
Iran refused access to Parchin, southeast of Tehran, during two rounds of talks with IAEA inspectors. Western diplomats say Iran may be delaying access to give it time to sanitize the facility of any incriminating evidence of explosive tests that would indicate efforts to design nuclear weapons.
"We have information that some activity is ongoing there," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said recently, referring to Parchin.
The IAEA has evidence that the test chamber was placed at Parchin in 2000 and that a building was subsequently constructed around it, Albright's report said.
The information was that a large explosive test chamber was used to conduct experiments possibly related to the development of nuclear weapons in the early years after 2000, Albright said.
He was not able to gauge the level of activity at this particular site without comparing it with multiple images over a short period of time.
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