Sampling at Parchin Faultless

Sampling at Parchin Faultless Sampling at Parchin Faultless

The head of the UN nuclear agency said on Thursday the process of sampling at the Parchin military complex recently carried out by Iranian experts was faultless.

Yukiya Amano spoke to the AP less than a week after confirming that Iranians did the environmental sampling at the site, where the International Atomic Energy Agency claims experiments relevant for development of nuclear weapons may have taken place in the past. Tehran denies the charge, saying it wants nuclear energy only for peaceful applications.  

IAEA personnel normally do the work of swiping equipment and sampling the soil and air at sites they suspect was used for hidden nuclear activities.

Noting that the Iranians were under stringent IAEA monitoring, Amano said he was confident “so far” that the samples were genuine. He appeared to go further on Thursday, however. While declining to say how far his agency’s laboratory analysis has gone, he said he is “very sure that … the samples are authentic.”

Tehran is closely cooperating with the IAEA to help it provide a final assessment of all past and present issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program by Dec. 15.

That report will feed into the larger July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers (the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) and so help determine whether sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear program will be lifted.

Amano, who met President Hassan Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials last weekend in Tehran, said they are keen to wrap up the probe and “would like to further accelerate the process.”

Critical Republicans continue to focus on Parchin, even after a failed attempt this month to have the US Congress reject the overarching July 14 nuclear deal swapping sanctions relief for temporary cuts in Iran’s current atomic activities.

They assert that giving Iranian officials the right to collect samples there not only amounts to “self-inspection” of the site but also is emblematic of what they say were unnecessary concessions to Tehran in the accord.

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Amano rejected such interpretations, saying that through state of the art video, photo and global positioning system monitoring, “we are very sure that the integrity of the (sampling) process is assured.” He declined to say whether IAEA personnel were at the site southeast of Tehran during the sampling. Iran has said none were.

Amano, in comments made while flying to this week’s UN General Assembly, also said it was too early to draw conclusions from what Iranian media describe as a weekend courtesy visit by him to the building where the alleged experiments took place. Citing satellite imagery, the IAEA has expressed concern that what it describes as extensive renovations at the site over the years have diminished its ability to verify the allegations of weapons work.

Iran says construction work at and near Parchin has nothing to do with the IAEA as the site is a non-nuclear facility

Amano’s visit to Parchin was separate from the environmental sampling. Amano said he and his deputy had “not seen any equipment” that could be linked to the alleged tests during their visit, but added that “renovation activities were ongoing.”