Integrity of Parchin Sampling Confirmed

Integrity of Parchin  Sampling ConfirmedIntegrity of Parchin  Sampling Confirmed

The UN nuclear agency's chief confirmed the integrity of the sampling process recently carried out at the Parchin military site by Iranian experts without the presence of the agency's inspectors.  

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesperson Behrouz Kamalvandi said in line with the roadmap agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog, "environmental samples were taken according to relevant procedures and standards from certain spots in the Parchin complex by Iranian technicians alone without the presence of the agency's inspectors and [the samples] were handed to the agency's experts," IRNA reported.

The roadmap agreement for clarification of outstanding questions about Tehran's past and present nuclear activities was signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency on July 14 alongside the larger nuclear deal with major powers.

The IAEA has undertaken to investigate Tehran's nuclear past and come up with a final assessment by the end of the year before the deal comes into effect.

The roadmap has committed Iran to providing the required explanations and information and clarifying any further questions about its nuclear work by Oct. 15.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano took a one-day trip to Tehran on Sunday, during which he met high-level officials and visited the Parchin facility along with his deputy for safeguards, Tero Varjoranta.

***Significant Progress

In a statement to reporters on Monday, Amano cited "significant progress" in its investigation of Tehran's past activities.

"The Iranian side played a part in the sample-taking process by swiping samples," he said, Reuters reported.

"The agency can confirm the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples, which were taken at places of interest to the agency at the particular location in Parchin," the statement said.

"Authentication by the agency of the samples was achieved through use of an established verification process. The process was carried out under our responsibility and monitoring."

The IAEA's probe into Iran's nuclear past involves inspection of facilities.

Iranian officials have ruled out access for UN inspectors to military sites citing security considerations.

Sampling at Parchin is crucial to Amano's final assessment report on Iran's nuclear program to be submitted to the board of governors by Dec. 15.

The UN agency claims activities Iran has undertaken at Parchin since its inspectors last visited the site in 2005 could undermine its ability to verify western intelligence alleging Tehran may have carried out tests there relevant to producing a nuclear bomb more than a decade ago. Iran has dismissed the intelligence as "fabricated."

Sanctions relief that the pact stipulates in exchange for temporary limits on Tehran's nuclear work is tied to the outcome of the agency's investigation which will be reflected in the report.

Iran has consistently denied allegations that its nuclear program may be aimed at developing a nuclear warhead, saying it is meant exclusively for peaceful purposes.

***P5+1 Talks

Fars News Agency reported that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif along with his nuclear negotiating team was to fly to New York today to hold talks with counterparts from the P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) on the sidelines of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials Abbas Araqchi and Hamid Baeidinejad are accompanying Zarif.

One of Zarif's deputies, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, will later join the team.

The first meeting of the Joint Commission on the accord is due to be held on the margins of the summit, but a date has yet to be set for it.

The pact provided for the establishment of the commission, consisting of representatives from both sides, to monitor the deal and address issues arising from its implementation.