Satellite Images Confirm Iranian Cover Up
Iran has razed two buildings near a suspected nuclear-trigger test site inside of its sprawling Parchin military complex.
Satellite images taken on May 25 confirm the destruction of two buildings IAEA inspectors have sought access to were published on Wednesday by the Institute for Science and International Security.
“These activities raise further concerns of Iranian efforts to destroy evidence of alleged past nuclear weaponization,” the Washington-based ISIS said in a six-page written analysis.
Diplomats had alluded to the satellite images in closed-door meetings on Iran's nuclear program earlier this week.
IAEA inspectors have been wrangling with Tehran over access to the Parchin facility since January, where it is believed Iran had constructed a high-explosives test chamber for nuclear detonation research.
“The razing of the two buildings may also indicate that Iran has no intention to allow inspectors access soon,” David Albright and Robert Avagyan wrote for ISIS.
“Iran should immediately allow the IAEA access to Parchin and explain the significance of these apparent clean-up activities," they added.
Last week, IAEA officials announced they had reached an agreement with Iranian authorities for greater access to Tehran's nuclear sites, including Parchin.
Iran is under multiple international sanctions stemming from concerns Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge the Islamic republic denies.
Two IAEA reports published since late 2011charge Iran has engaged in nuclear research of a military nature, and is enriching far more uranium to 20% than its claims of nuclear medicine research can justify.
Iran has systemically obstructed IAEA inspectors seeking access to its nuclear sites in contravention of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In March, as tensions over access to the Parchin site reached a crescendo, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said "Iran is not telling us everything."
The building's destruction – now publicly confirmed – has been broadly interpreted as a part of an Iranian attempt to cover up illicit military nuclear weapons research.
Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon on Wednesday remarked "Iran is deceiving the West all the way to a bomb."
For "the last three months, while it talks with world powers, Tehran has significantly accelerated the pace of Iranian nuclear enrichment, Yaalon said at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv
In that time "they have produced 36 pounds, one-third of the amount that the Iranians need [for a bomb], has been enriched to 20% in the face of Western demands," he explained.
Yaalon's comments come ahead of a third round of talks between the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany – and Iran in Moscow on June 18 and 19.
Ahead of the second round of failed talks in Bagdad, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said "I see no evidence Iran is ready to end its nuclear program.”
He was joined by Defense Minister Ehud Barak who told reporters he was "skeptical" that Iran was serious, and charged Tehran was using the talks to buy time for nuclear weapons research.