After visiting Iran over the weekend, Yukiya Amano, the director general of the global Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters the agency had made “significant progress” in its five-month probe, his strongest signal yet that Iran is cooperating.
The dust samples will be analyzed for traces of nuclear elements that could indicate if high-explosive experiments were conducted at Parchin. The agency has frequently said that subsequent renovation work at and near the building could hamper the IAEA probe, a position Amano repeated on Monday.
The Iranian president says his country’s military is the most reliable force to take on “terrorists in the region” – a reference to the extremist Islamic State group.
French companies are warning that their government’s tough stance in the Iranian nuclear negotiations could be hurting their chances of winning business when sanctions are lifted.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited the Parchin site on Sunday and appeared to dismiss concerns that anything out of the ordinary had taken place.
The environmental samples, however, are already controversial thanks to the IAEA’s confidential deal with Iran that lets the country hold sway over those inspections, the news agency notes.
Iran’s potential involvement in the Parchin inspection was foreshadowed by the Obama administration in August. Iran maintains its program is for peaceful purposes only, but until now, had repeatedly rejected IAEA requests to visit the site. Iran has not granted United Nations nuclear inspectors access to Parchin for a decade. But the draft says that at Parchin, Iranian experts, monitored by video and photo cameras, will collect their own environmental samples. But Mr. Amano said the procedure met strict agency criteria to ensure “the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples”. The process was carried out under our responsibility and monitoring.
Iran has also agreed to allow inspectors to access any site they deem suspicious. Sanctions relief from the agreement with the US, Britain, China, France, Russian Federation and Germany is contingent on Iran satisfying the U.N.’s questions about the allegations it worked to develop nuclear weapons.
Last week, Democrats in the U.S. Senate defeated Republican efforts to lodge a vote against the terms of the agreement during the 60-day review period lawmakers had from the day they got the official text of the deal.
Mr Rouhani was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as telling Mr Amano that Iran would implement the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and “we hope that you will fairly supervise the accord’s implementation”.
Critics of the Iran nuclear agreement have said Iran’s ability to select samples from Parchin under the IAEA is a sign that the agreement is hopelessly flawed.