Satellite imagery reportedly shows Iran 'sanitizing' nuclear site days after deal signed

Bloomberg reports that US intel officials briefed lawmakers on findings.

August 6, 2015 10:35
1 minute read.
Satellite images of Iranian nuclear facility (file)

Satellite images of Iranian nuclear facility (file). (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Days after signing a deal with world powers to roll back its nuclear program and allow more transparency to UN inspectors, Iran was "sanitizing" its suspected nuclear military site at Parchin, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing US intelligence officials and lawmakers.

Satellite images obtained by US intelligence in mid- and late July show bulldozers and heavy machinery likely used to erase traces of nuclear military experiments carried out at the site before International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors are set to arrive at Parchin, the officials told Bloomberg.

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The report quoted three US senators as saying that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed lawmakers about the evidence on Monday. The US Congress is set to vote on whether to accept the nuclear deal on September 17, and some lawmakers have expressed concerns that Iran would not comply with requests that it give a full accounting of possible military aspects of its nuclear program.
Iran deal in a nutshell

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr called the new information "a huge concern,” saying that Iran's actions, according to the satellite imagery, "seem to be against the grain of the agreement."

A senior intelligence official told Bloomberg that Iran's "sanitization" efforts are known, but that the world powers who signed the deal with Iran are confident that UN inspectors can still detect Iran's past nuclear work.

As part of the deal, Iran must grant access to Parchin by October 15, and completely removing trace amounts of uranium from the site by that time is impossible, another administration official said.

However other lawmakers were concerned that the IAEA would allow Iran to collect its own samples for testing from Parchin with limited supervision. Iran must allay the IAEA's concerns about its past and current military nuclear experiments at Parchin in order to win sanctions relief, but the agreement does not detail how the issue must be resolved.

Many lawmakers, including Democrats, are still undecided on the deal, in part, because of concerns over Parchin.

During nuclear negotiations, Israel said that Iran used the Parchin site for secret tests of technology that could be used only for detonating a nuclear weapon.

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