Or so we assume. Since the side deal with the IAEA leaves the inspection of Parchin and other military sites to Iran, then they will have the only opportunity to see what the Iranians added in a new annex built in the last three months. No worries, of course — the White House has confidence in the IAEA’s ability to get the Iranians to apply scrutiny to themselves.
What could go wrong?
Iran appears to have built an extension to part of its Parchin military site since May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report on Thursday delving into a major part of its inquiry into possible military dimensions to Tehran’s past atomic activity.
A resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Parchin file, which includes a demand for fresh IAEA access to the site, is a symbolically important issue that could help make or break Tehran’s July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers.
The confidential IAEA report, obtained by Reuters, said:
“Since (our) previous report (in May), at a particular location at the Parchin site, the agency has continued to observe, through satellite imagery, the presence of vehicles, equipment, and probable construction materials. In addition, a small extension to an existing building appears to have constructed.”
Iran claims that it has fully cooperated with the existing framework since negotiations began, but this work apparently began shortly before the signing of the final agreement in July. The Times of Israel suggests that it’s an effort to clean up evidence of past testing on explosives and nuclear detonators:
Activities at the site since 2012, during a time Iran stonewalled IAEA requests to visit the site or receive information on it, have undermined the agency’s ability to verify intelligence suggesting that Tehran conducted tests relevant to nuclear bomb detonations at the site in the past, diplomats said Thursday.
Specifically, the IAEA believes Tehran may have experimented there with high-explosive detonators for nuclear arms.
The Associated Press concurs that the IAEA believes Iran to be sticking to its agreements, but trying to erase history, and there’s a deadline involved:
The U.N. agency said Iran’s current level of uranium enrichment, nuclear research and development and other activity is in line with its declarations. The 21-page report covers Iran’s nuclear program in the run-up to the landmark accord on July 14 and its first steps toward implementing that agreement. A copy of the document was obtained by The Associated Press.
The agency noted that it received information from Iran about allegations of past nuclear weapons work on Aug. 15.
But it offered reservations about the military base of Parchin. Western intelligence agencies say Iran used the site for explosives tests and other experiments related to the development of nuclear weapons. Iran argues the evidence is fraudulent; the IAEA is supposed to clear up the allegations by mid-December.
Terrific! Iran is actively scrubbing evidence of its activities at its military development site. Meanwhile, we’re being told that Iran will be a reliable partner and can be trusted to honestly inspect itself at military sites. And Congress is about to let Obama off the hook for it, too.
What could go … oh, forget it.