IAEA Visit to Iran Ends in Failure

Washington, Feb. 22 - International Atomic Energy Agency officials left Iran in failure Wednesday after they were denied visits to a site suspected to be at the center of Iran’s illegal nuclear weapons program.

"It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a statement. "We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached."

Parchin is an Iranian military complex that international observers suspect may be used in developing missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon payload.

The Iranian regime has resisted giving details about its suspected nuclear weapons program even under layers of international sanctions. The European Union is set to completely ban Iranian oil imports by July 1 in the most severe move yet by the West to isolate Iran.

Top Iranian officials sounded a note of defiance as the IAEA officials left.

"With God's help, and without paying attention to propaganda, Iran's nuclear course should continue firmly and seriously," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on state television. "Pressures, sanctions and assassinations will bear no fruit. No obstacles can stop Iran's nuclear work."

A senior military official on Tuesday even threatened pre-emptive action against the West.

We will no more wait to see enemy action against us," the state-run Fars news agency quoted Mohammad Hejazi, deputy head of the general staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, as saying.

The collapse of the IAEA visit leaves the future of negotiations over the program unclear. Iran’s on-and-off negotiations with the international community, coupled with its denials of access to nuclear sites have left the Islamic Republic increasingly isolated and are now widely seen in the West as a ploy by the regime to gain time and advance the program.

"If Iran has nothing to hide why do they behave in that way?" an unnamed Western official told Reuters Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, the wife of an assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist told Iranian media that her late husband was bent on destroying Israel.

"Mostafa's ultimate goal was the annihilation of Israel," Fatemeh Bolouri Kashani told the Fars News Agency on Tuesday.

Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan Behdast, a nuclear scientist suspected of involvement in the covert nuclear weapons program, was killed during rush hour in early January when a magnetic bomb was attached to his car by passing motorcyclists.

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