Tehran: UN nuclear inspectors starting two-day visit to Tehran on Monday sought to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit a key military facility as they try to gauge allegations that Iran is pushing toward making an atomic weapon.

The trip is the second in less than a month by the International Atomic Energy Agency team, reflecting growing concerns over alleged weapons experiments something Iran has so far both denied and refused to discuss.

Herman Nackaerts, a senior UN nuclear official, said in Vienna before the team departed on Sunday that he hoped for progress in the talks but his careful choice of words suggested little expectation the meeting will be successful.

The West suspects Iran's nuclear program is geared toward making weapons, a charge Iran denies, insisting it's for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation.
Iran's state radio said the inspectors hope to meet Iranian nuclear scientists and visit the Parchin military complexThe report said the IAEA had requested to visit Parchin, an Iranian military base and conventional weapons development facility outside of Tehran.

The site has also been suspected of housing a secret underground facility used for Iran's nuclear program, a claim denied by Iranian authorities.

IAEA inspectors visited the site in 2005, but only one of four areas of potential interest within the grounds.
 At the time, the nuclear watchdog did not report any unusual activities but the Parchin site was prominently mentioned in the agency's report last year.

The report asserted that Iran constructed "a large explosives containment vessel" in which to conduct experiments on triggering a nuclear explosion, apparently 11 years ago, adding that it had satellite images "consistent with this information."


(Agencies)