Iran has begun paving over a former military site where its scientists are suspected to have conducted nuclear-weapons-related experiments, according to a new U.N. report, a move that could doom efforts to reconstruct a critical part of Iran’s nuclear history.
Satellite photos of the site, known as Parchin, show fresh asphalt covering a broad area where suspicious tests were carried out several years ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in an internal report that was prepared for diplomats.
The paving appears to have occurred within the past few weeks, at a time when the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog was meeting with Iranian officials to try to negotiate access to the site to investigate allegations of secret weapons research.
Iran has repeatedly denied IAEA inspectors entry to the site, and previous satellite photos have shown a series of efforts to alter it by razing buildings and even scraping away topsoil around what was once a chamber used for military explosives testing. U.N. officials believe that the facility may have been used to test a special kind of detonator used in nuclear explosions.