IAEA General Director Yukia Amano and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran
September 20, 2015
There's smiling Iranian President Rouhani and IAEA Yukiya Director General Amano on his one day visit to Iran to pick up soil and other samples obtained by Iran from the disputed Parchin military test site. Those self inspection samples were delivered under confidential IAEA side deals not delivered to Congress during its review of the Iran nuclear deal. Josh Earnest at the White House praised this as demonstrative of Iranian compliance with the 'intrusive robust inspection scheme" of the IAEA under the terms of the JCPOA. Amano's deputy said that such arrangements of self inspections are not unusual in such confidential arrangements. Moreover they were done under televised and GPA monitoring. However, former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen at Harvard's Belfer Center said that those self inspections were not customary. Note these excerpts from the Times of Israel/AP story.
White House spokesperson Josh Earnest in the September 21, 2015 daily press briefing “praised" the IAEA Iranian self inspection at Parchin:
As time goes on, there will be “many opportunities” to show that the warnings of those who opposed the deal “are eventually disproven based on the way the agreement is implemented.
“For a long time, Iran had resisted cooperating with any sort of inspections IAEA wanted to do.”.
“And as a result of the international pressure that built up over time, principally because of the tough economic sanctions that the United States put in place — and got the rest of the international community to go along with — we now see indications that Iran is cooperating with IAEA inspections.”
Then there is this acknowledgement of the self-inspection arrangements by the IAEA director general Yukia Amano and the group’s deputy general director Tero Varjoranta:
Amano said “significant progress” had been achieved during the trip to Iran but “much work remains” before the investigation can be completed by a December 15 deadline.
Sampling of soil, air or dust from equipment is usually done by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s own experts. But IAEA chief Yukiya Amano confirmed that Iranians carried out that part of the probe at Parchin, where the agency suspects that explosive triggers for nuclear weapons might have been tested in the past.
Diplomats say Iran insisted on the compromise as a condition for any probe of Parchin.
Deputy IAEA Director General Tero Varjoranta said that there have been more than 40 instances of letting a country being inspected use their own nationals to do the 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.
Au contraire says former IAEA deputy director general Ollie Heinonen:
Former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen has described Iran as a particularly sensitive case, however, saying 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.
Republican critics suggest that today’s announcement justified their concerns during Congressional hearings on the Iran nuclear deal that sanctions not be lifted:
Congressmen Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Peter Roskam of Illinois and Lee Zeldin of New York expressed their “grave concern” over what they called Iran’s right to “self-inspect.” They urged that nuclear-related sanctions be kept in place, at least for now.
But critical legislators have been weakened since the Congressional review period of the nuclear deal ended last Thursday. Democrats then blocked Republican efforts to get a resolution disapproving of the Iran deal to President Barack Obama’s desk.
The Iran self-inspection arrangement was first revealed in a confidential draft agreement between the sides seen last month by The Associated Press.
Note Iranian confirmation of this staged event with the IAEA head Amano still issuing “concerns:”
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.”
Amano spoke a day after he was taken on what Iranian media described as a ceremonial tour of the military site. He told reporters in Vienna that he was able to enter a building that the agency had been observing via satellite and saw signs of “recent renovation work.”
He appeared to be referring to the building where the agency suspects that weapons experiments were conducted in the past. 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.
Amano’s one-day visit to Iran is part of an assessment due in December that will help to determine whether sanctions will be lifted.
During Sunday, September 20, 2015, Lisa Benson Show, we queried Shoshana Bryen senior director of the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center about Iran-North Korean cooperative development of both nuclear weapons and ICBMs. She said, “Wake up America”. Iran and North Korea she pointed out both were part of the A.Q. Khan network engaged in transfer of illicit nuclear materials for years and years. Then there was cooperation in ICBM developments, as well. That was during the era when former “President George W. Bush accused Iran, Iraq and North Korea as being core members of the Axis of Evil.” She pointed out Iranian North Korean cooperation built the Al-Kibar nuclear bomb facility that Iran funded as Syria didn’t have the funds. The Al-Kibar facility was successfully destroyed by the IAF in Operation Orchard, September 2007. Listen to the Lisa Benson Show Soundcloud containing Bryen’s remarks, here.