On Monday, Iran said it independently collected samples at a suspect military site where illicit nuclear work has occurred and later handed them to the UN’s absent inspectors.
The disclosure that international monitors were not physically present is likely to feed critics of Obama’s Iran Deal who have poured rightful scorn on measures used to check if Tehran’s atomic program is peaceful.
Iran’s self-inspection has to be Obama’s crowning jewel of incompetent achievement.
The site at Parchin, east of the capital Tehran, has been at the center of international skepticism of Iran’s activities, specifically that as late as 2003 it carried out work there aimed at developing an atomic weapon.
The sample taking is linked to a so-called roadmap with a December 15 deadline by when the IAEA says ambiguities about past possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear activities must be resolved.
Much work remains to be done on that report, Amano said.
Iran’s environmental sampling from specific parts of the Parchin complex took place in the past week.
“It was done by Iranian experts, in the absence of IAEA inspectors,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation.
Western intelligence agencies suspect Iran conducted secretive tests at its Parchin military complex …
Amano, speaking a day after he visited Tehran and was unexpectedly granted access to Parchin, appeared to reiterate that capability while acknowledging Iran’s recent role.
“In the case of Parchin, the Iranian side played a part in the sample-taking process by swiping samples,” Amano said in Vienna, adding his experts would analyse them in the coming weeks.
No Entry Into Parchin
He did not name the place, but did say that he and Tero Varjoranta, the IAEA’s chief inspector, visited a building previously only monitored by satellite technology, and indicated it had been altered.
“Inside the building, we saw indications of recent renovation work. There was no equipment in the building,” he said before appearing to criticise past construction work at Parchin.”
“As I have stated in my reports.. the extensive work that has been conducted at the location since early 2012 undermines the agency’s ability to conduct effective verification there. Our experts will now analyse this information and we will have discussions with Iran in the coming weeks.”
Iran had previously refused permission to enter Parchin, highlighting its military function and stressing the IAEA had already conducted inspections in 2005 that yielded nothing.
Reports that international inspectors would not be physically present during sampling were seized on recently by Republicans in the US Congress, who say Iran could cheat the IAEA’s monitoring and inspections regime.
On Monday, US State Department spokesman John Kirby would only say of the inspection that “we’re comfortable that the process was conducted in accordance with the normal procedures and the agreement that the IAEA had already made with Iran.”
Iran’s self-inspection routine will be Obama’s crowning jewel of incompetent achievement. Period.
The Republican-led House of Representatives this month rejected the nuclear deal. But it was a purely symbolic vote as one day earlier the Senate cleared the way for the accord to come into force.
AFP contributed to this article.