The absence of IAEA inspectors at Parchin raised questions among lawmakers and experts over whether the samples collected by Iran could be trusted for the IAEA’s analysis.
The reports match information coming from the Associated Press, which stated that one of the two Iran-IAEA side agreements – which were never submitted to Congress for review – allows the Iranian government to conduct important elements of what should be independent, global inspections at their own site of Parchin-a location in which Iran has allegedly tested weapon-style detonators in the past.
“Authentication by the agency of the samples was achieved through use of an established verification process”, Amano told reporters.
Iran’s atomic energy agency spokesman, Behrouz Kalmandi, said IAEA experts were not physically present during the sampling.
But the revelations that Iran, rather than the IAEA, took the samples at Parchin-a key step in the investigation-only deepened concerns that the world will never get a clear understanding of any past weaponization work in the country. The details of the IAEA agreement are confidential and have not been revealed. Tehran has refused to allow inspections of its military sites as part of the nuclear deal, saying it fears foreign espionage.
“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. But Amano said the procedure meets strict agency criteria that ensure “the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples”. Citing satellite imagery, the IAEA has expressed concern that what it describes as extensive renovations at the site over the years have diminished agency attempts to sleuth the building for evidence of the alleged weapons work.
The atomic weapons watchdog is the body tasked by the landmark Iran nuclear deal reached in July to monitor and verify Tehran’s compliance with the agreement.
“The fact is, the director general of the IAEA was at a prominent Iranian military site over the weekend”.
And while Republicans used the reports out of Parchin to argue the Iran deal is too weak, Kirby said State is fine with the agreement.
Western nations have long suspected Iran’s nuclear program has a secret military dimension.
Mr Amano also addressed a 12-member committee set up by the Iranian parliament to examine the deal but the meeting was held behind closed doors.