US Think Tank Asks IAEA to Reopen Probe of Iran’s Past

Iranian officials say foreign access to military facilities for any inspection would constitute a breach of national security
The IAEA’s flag flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna. The IAEA’s flag flies in front of its headquarters in Vienna.

The US-based Institute for Science and International Security urged the UN nuclear watchdog to revisit an Iranian military facility in search of evidence that Tehran has been building nukes in the past, reopening a probe into alleged Iranian covert activities that was concluded in 2015.

In an article published on its website on Monday, the US think tank that focuses on nuclear nonproliferation claimed there is "plenty of evidence of past Iranian nuclear weapons" at Parchin military complex near Tehran.

This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency conducted extensive investigation into the so-called possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear activities in 2015, based on a roadmap agreed with Iran for the clarification of all "past and present" issues regarding Tehran's nuclear work.

As part of the investigations, Iranian experts collected and sent to the IAEA environmental samples of the Parchin site where the nuclear watchdog had claimed that according to intelligence received from western countries, research relevant to development of nuclear weapons could have taken place.

The agency's final assessment, published late 2015, confirmed Iran's assertion that its nuclear program was entirely peaceful, giving the green light for the nuclear deal to take effect in January 2016.

The pact settled a 12-year dispute between Iran and western powers accusing Iran of covertly building nukes, an allegation that has always been rejected by Tehran.

  US Push for Military Inspections

The ISIS alleged that the roadmap established "inadequate rules" for investigations into Parchin and further inspections are required to ensure the nuclear deal is properly verified.

"Not surprisingly, this weak arrangement, in which the IAEA was limited in its visits and ability to take environmental samples at the site, failed to resolve the issue," it claimed.

The article comes after calls by the US administration for new inspections of Iranian military sites it alleges suspicious and secret nuclear activities were conducted.

Last month, AP reported an unnamed US official as saying that Donald Trump, who has hardened the US tone on Iran and considers the deal a "disaster", was pushing for inspections and the US had floated the proposal to European sides of the deal earlier in July.

A week before the AP report, a White House source told Foreign Policy that Trump has instructed a group of staffers to provide him with options to declare that Tehran was not in compliance with the agreement, justifying the US from not adhering to the agreement.

Under the deal, the IAEA needs to enlist the support of a majority of signatories to the deal and provide Iran with a logical explanation to be able to carry out inspections of military sites.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is to travel to the IAEA's base in Vienna later this month to "further explore the extent of Iran's nuclear activities" with IAEA officials, Reuters quoted a US official as saying on August 9.

Iranian officials have roundly ruled out the possibility of new inspections of military bases.

Early August, Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, said foreign access to these facilities would constitute a breach of the Islamic Republic's national security.


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