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Iran’s powerful Guard rejects inspection of military sites

Says nuclear deal shouldn’t grant inspectors access

TEHRAN — International nuclear inspectors will be barred from all Iranian military sites under any deal with world powers, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard said Sunday, setting up a possible standoff as negotiators try to reach a final deal.

General Hossein Salami, the guard’s deputy leader, told Iranian state television that allowing foreign inspection of military sites is tantamount to ‘‘selling out,’’ raising the stakes as talks between Iran and the six-nation group are to resume April 22 in Vienna.

‘‘We will respond with hot lead [bullets] to those who speak of it,’’ Salami said. ‘‘Iran will not become a paradise for spies. We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy.’’


Salami said allowing foreign inspectors to visit a military base would amount to occupation, and expose ‘‘military and defense secrets.’’

‘‘It means humiliating a nation,’’ he added. ‘‘They will not even be permitted to inspect the most normal military site in their dreams.’’

But such inspections have happened before. In 2005, Iran allowed inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog to visit its Parchin military site as a confidence-building measure, but denied further visits, fearing espionage.

A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the State Department said Iran would be required to grant the UN nuclear agency access to any ‘‘suspicious sites.’’ Secretary of State John F. Kerry has said any deal with Iran will include unfettered international inspections.

Iranian leaders have questioned that and other language in the fact sheet. Iran has so far declined to release its own fact sheet about the framework deal.

Western nations long have suspected Iran of secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes.

In a separate development Sunday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran described such Western claims about its nuclear program as myth.


‘‘Americans, Europeans, and some apple polishers fabricated the myth of nuclear weapons to say that the Islamic Republic was a threat. No. The threat is America itself,’’ he told military commanders Sunday.

Khamenei’s remarks are seen as an effort by Iran to toughen its position ahead of the next round of talks. He declared last week that any final agreement must end all sanctions on the day that a pact is signed.

Also last week, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, raised the prospect of unlimited Iranian atomic fuel enrichment if the final phase of talks does not achieve an agreement by the June 30 deadline, with all sanctions dropped.

Zarif said the Americans had diverged from a framework agreement reached April 2 by publishing what they described as a fact sheet about the framework’s basic provisions.

Contrary to that assertion, Zarif said, there would be no phased removal of sanctions to ensure Iranian compliance.

“The United States for their own domestic reasons, and that’s their right and prerogative, produced a fact sheet, which was not exactly what we adopted,” Zarif told Euronews, a France-based broadcaster.

Iran has been subjected to a slew of economic and financial sanctions over the years over uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities.