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'Iran explosives chamber' drawing

A drawing based on information from inside an Iranian military site shows an explosives containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that United Nations inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted.

The computer-generated drawing was provided to The Associated Press by an official from a country tracking Iran's nuclear programme who says it proves the structure exists, despite Tehran's refusal to acknowledge it.

The official comes from an IAEA member country severely critical of Iran's assertions that its nuclear activities are peaceful and claims they are a springboard for making atomic arms.

Iran denies such testing and has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such a chamber.

The image was based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, the official said, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant.

A former senior IAEA official said he believed the drawing was accurate. Olli Heinonen, until last year the UN nuclear agency's deputy director general in charge of the Iran file, said it was "very similar" to a photo he recently saw that he believed to be the pressure chamber the IAEA suspects is at Parchin.

He said even the colours of the computer-generated drawing matched that of the photo he had, but declined to go into the origins of the photo to protect his source.

After months of being rebuffed, IAEA and Iranian officials are to meet in Vienna, Austria, and the IAEA will renew its attempt to gain access to the chamber, allegedly hidden in a building.

Any evidence that Iran is hiding such an explosives containment tank, and details on how it functions, is significant for IAEA investigations.

Beyond IAEA hopes of progress, the two-day meeting is being closely watched by six powers trying to persuade Iran to make nuclear concessions aimed at reducing fears that it may want to develop atomic arms as a mood-setter for talks on May 23 between the six and Tehran in Baghdad.

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