Report: Satellite images may show sanitizing of Iran's Parchin site

TEHRAN, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Satellite imagery of Iran's Parchin military complex showed evidence of apparent efforts to sanitize the site, an anti-nuclear-proliferation organization said.

"Iran appears to be in the final stages of modifying the suspected high-explosive test site at the Parchin complex," the Institute for Science and International Security said Thursday in a report.


The institute said the paving and other documented activities "significantly changed the site and impacted the ability of IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors to collect environmental samples and other evidence that it could use to determine whether nuclear weapons-related activities once took place there."

The Parchin complex is of interest to the IAEA because of evidence of pre-2004 activities related to nuclear weapon development, the organization said.

The IAEA and the United States and other Western countries maintain Iran is developing nuclear weapon capability. Iranian officials say the country's nuclear operations are for civilian purposes.

Iran has refused to allow IAEA inspectors access to the Parchin site or address concerns about other issues concerning nuclear weaponization.

"As a result, the IAEA has been unable to provide a determination that the Iranian nuclear program is of an exclusively peaceful nature," the institute said. "Such an IAEA determination may very well decide whether any agreement with Iran on limiting its nuclear activities is accompanied by significant sanctions relief."


The commercial satellite imagery indicated that, during an 18-month period, Iran made many alterations to the Parchin complex, "many of which look like efforts to destroy evidence and are documented in earlier ... satellite imagery reports," the watchdog said.

A July 2013 letter to the IAEA from Iran "only repeats its false and misleading statements about the IAEA, Iran's safeguards obligations, and the verification challenges inspectors face in Iran, particularly with regard to the need for access to Parchin," the institute said, urging the republic's leaders to change their approach.

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