ISIS reported this month that new imagery of the special facility at Parchin shows suspect buildings being razed, along with other work (i.e., earth-moving) that appears related to sanitizing the site where there was formerly a nuclear-detonator testing facility. As the short-lived Baghdad talks opened in May, IAEA head Yukiya Amano suggested that negotiators were close to a deal with Iran – under discussion since February – to get inspectors to the Parchin site. It appears the Iranians are not yet satisfied with the results of their sanitization efforts, however, as the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said five days later that he wasn’t convinced an inspection was necessary.
AP reported back in mid-May on information from a foreign official about the detonator-testing chamber reportedly set up at Parchin (apparently after 2000). The foreign official had a description from an Iranian source, which yielded a computer-generated drawing of the test chamber. According to a former IAEA official interviewed for the AP story, the drawing of the chamber was accurate and appeared to match a photo he had recently seen of the test chamber at Parchin. There is little doubt at this point that there was a detonator-testing chamber housed at Parchin, probably in the building ISIS reported on earlier this year. And as a reminder, the US provided the original intelligence on a probable detonator test by Iran in 2004.
No reason to take our eyes off the ball here.