IAEA inspects second suspected nuclear site in Iran

International Atomic Energy Agency inspects second of two suspected former secret atomic sites in Iran.

Tags: IAEA Iran
Elad Benari ,

IAEA headquarters
IAEA headquarters

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday it has inspected the second of two suspected former secret atomic sites in Iran, as agreed upon with Tehran last month.

“As part of an agreement with Iran to resolve safeguards implementation issues specified by the IAEA, the Agency this week conducted a complementary access at the second location in the country and took environmental samples,” the IAEA said in a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency.

Those samples and others taken at the first site will be sent to labs and analyzed for traces of nuclear material, since the agency’s main task is to account for all nuclear material in a country to ensure it is not being used to make weapons.

The agreement allowing inspectors to visit the sites followed a recently released IAEA report in which the agency expressed "serious concern" that Iran has been blocking inspections at two sites where past nuclear activity may have occurred.

The agency has for months been pressing Tehran for information about the kind of activities being carried out at an undeclared site where the uranium particles were found.

While the IAEA has not identified the site in question, it is believed to be the Turquzabad facility which was identified by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his address before the UN General Assembly in 2018 as a "secret atomic warehouse."

Although the IAEA says it has the power to carry out snap inspections anywhere in Iran it deems necessary, Tehran had denied it access to the two sites for seven months until the deal was struck for access on specific dates this month.

Iran’s refusal to permit IAEA inspectors access to the two sites further strained efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, from which US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to the US withdrawal from it.