White House: Iran Cooperating with IAEA

White House spokesman says Iran is cooperating with UN inspectors, doesn't address fact that Iran self-inspected Parchin.

Elad Benari ,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest

The White House said on Monday it was seeing indications Iran is cooperating with inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog and credited tough international sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program, according to Reuters.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked about the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspection of the Parchin military complex and its report of "significant progress" in its investigation of Iran's past nuclear activity.

"For a long time Iran had resisted cooperating with any sort of inspections IAEA wanted to do," Earnest was quoted as having told reporters.

"And as a result of the international pressure that built up over time, principally because of the tough economic sanctions that the United States put in place and got the rest of the international community to go along with, we now see indications that Iran is cooperating with IAEA inspections," he added.

Earnest’s comments follow Iran’s announcement earlier on Monday that it handed over to the IAEA alleged samples from Parchin.

However, the samples were taken by Iranian scientists with UN scientists not allowed on the site.

That side deal stipulates that Iran will inspect Parchin itself, with no international inspectors allowed in, even though both the IAEA and the United States had previously vehemently denied that Iran would be allowed to inspect the suspicious site on its own.

IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano on Sunday was granted brief access to Parchin during a one-day visit to the country, although his tour was a far cry from a full inspection of the site, which the IAEA has long requested access to that Iran has long denied.

The original itinerary for Amano’s one-day visit to Iran did not include a visit to Parchin.

Despite Iran's claims that Parchin is unrelated to its nuclear program, last October it admitted to using Parchin to test exploding bridge wires, used as nuclear detonators.

The Obama administration has been trying to play down Parchin, with State Department spokesperson John Kirby last month claiming Parchin is "a conventional military site, not a nuclear site."