Parchin Nuclear Samples Taken By Iranian Nuclear Experts-No IAEA Supervision

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the Associated Press on Monday that air, soil, and dust samples have been taken from the Parchin nuclear site, but it was Iranian nuclear experts with no IAEA staff present ,who took the collection. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano claims that the collection was done according to the IAEA guidelines, because everything was observed buy the UN nuclear agency on TV monitors.

Deputy IAEA Director General Tero Varjoranta said that there have been over 40 instances of letting a country being inspected use their own nationals to do their own sampling and that the process is only a small part of a rigid regimen established by the agency to make sure there is no cheating.

He said the criteria at Parchin included: invasive monitoring by video and still cameras while the sampling took place; GPS tracking of the sampling process; IAEA agreement on where the samples were to be taken; review by unspecified peers of the inspection process; risk assessment and strict observance to make sure that procedures were followed step by step.

“We feel fully confident that the process and the result so far are fully in line with our safeguards practices,” he said, standing next to Amano at a Vienna news conference.

Parchin has long been suspected of being the location were Iran was developing it’s detonation systems for nuclear weapons. In October 2014 Iran  admitted to using Parchin to test exploding bridge wires, which are used as nuclear detonators, but they claimed the test explosions were not for weapons development.

While it is true that other facilities collect their own samples former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen said “he knows of no other case where a country under investigation for possibly trying to make nuclear weapons was permitted to use its own personnel to collect environmental samples as part of the investigation.”
Iran collecting its own samples at Parchin was the most controversial part of the “secret side deal” exposed by the AP last month.  After the AP exclusive Reuters claimed the Associated Press story was wrong and that IAEA personnel would be present while the collections were made. Sadly the AP was correct and Parchin has the potential of being another one of the P5+1 deal’s loopholes.

The Iran arrangement was first revealed in a confidential draft agreement between the sides seen last month by The Associated Press. The draft said that Iranian experts, monitored by video and still cameras, would gather environmental samples at the site and hand them over to the agency for analysis.

Iran’s atomic energy agency spokesman, Behrouz Kalmandi, said IAEA experts were not physically present during the sampling. But Amano said the procedure meets strict agency criteria that ensure “the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples.”

Based on the explanation given by Kalmandi , it seems as if while the samples were being taken Iranian nuclear experts were videotaped and photographed and the “movies” were watched by IAEA inspectors “off-site.”  Not answered is the questions of how does the IAEA know if the video taken was actually taken from the Parchin site and/or how do they know the samples handed over to the IAEA where the same ones shown on the video?

Ronald Reagan said of the Soviet Union that we had to trust—but verify. When it comes to Iran’s Parchin site the United States (via the UN) agreed to trust, but forgot about the verify part.