The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has an extremely difficult time in evaluating alleged nuclear weapons studies in Iran. While it has done an excellent job in verifying the nuclear material production activities in Iran’s uranium enrichment plants, the IAEA also appears to be willing to risk its technical credibility by insisting on visiting a military site called Parchin, near Tehran. The IAEA renewed its call to be granted access to Parchin during the past week’s negotiations with Iran on a new framework agreement for resuming its investigation of suspected military nuclear activities in the country. For its part, Iran has dismissed the IAEA’s concerns about the Parchin site, claiming that it was sufficiently inspected by the agency in 2005.
… Ultimately the IAEA is trying to force Iran to grant access to a military site where they have been told that nuclear-related activities have taken place. It is unlikely that the alleged chamber is being used for nuclear activities, if it even exists. If the IAEA succeeds in visiting the site and does not find evidence of nuclear weapons activities, its credibility will be seriously damaged and it will be unable to persuasively make the case for visits to more serious sites of concern inside Iran.”
Robert Kelley is a SIRPI Associated Senior Research Fellow and a veteran of over 35 years in the US Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons complex, most recently at Los Alamos. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and was later Director of the Department of Energy Remote Sensing Laboratory, the premier US nuclear emergency response organization. He was also seconded by the USDOE to the IAEA where he served twice as a Director of the nuclear inspections in Iraq, in 1992 and 2001.
For more on this story, visit: May 23: The IAEA and Parchin: do the claims add up? — www.sipri.org.