Iran nuke chief: No separate deal on Parchin inspections
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Iran nuke chief: No separate deal on Parchin inspections

Comments contradict document signed by Iran and UN atomic agencies; IAEA suspects prior nuclear testing was conducted at site

Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012 (AP/Institute for Science and International Security)
Satellite image of the Parchin facility, April 2012 (AP/Institute for Science and International Security)

The head of Iran’s atomic agency said Friday that his country has not signed any separate agreement regarding UN inspections at its Parchin military complex, the Iranian media reported.

“The AEOI and the IAEA do not have any separate agreement on visiting the Parchin military site,” Ali Akbar Salehi told the state-run ICANA news agency, referring to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency, respectively.

Iran and world powers agreed last week in Vienna to a deal that limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an end to crippling economic sanctions.

The IAEA twice inspected Parchin, an installation some 30 km southeast of Tehran, a decade ago, and is now requesting further visits. The UN suspects that nuclear testing has been conducted at the site.

Salehi’s remarks appear to contradict a clause in the so-called road map signed by him and IAEA chief Yukiya Amano on July 14, which Amano called “clarification of past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (L) shakes hands with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, during their meeting in Tehran on November 11, 2013  (photo credit: AFP/File Atta Kenare)
Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi shakes hands with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, in Tehran on November 11, 2013
(photo credit: AFP/File Atta Kenare)

According to the joint statement released by the two at the time, “Iran and the IAEA agreed on another separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin.” Amano’s individual statement at the time reiterates that the road map contains “a separate arrangement regarding the issue of Parchin.”

But, Salehi said Friday, “Inspections will be conducted only within the framework of the [road map] agreement,” according to the Tehran Times.

Mansour Haqiqatpour, the vice chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, earlier this week also expressed Tehran’s opposition to a further Parchin inspection,
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“Despite Iran’s goodwill measures, the IAEA has unfortunately once again requested visiting the Parchin military site,” Fars quoted Haqiqatpour as saying.

“In recent years, Iran has provided the International Atomic Energy Agency with several times of access to the Parchin military site, and the agency’s inspectors have visited it and found it completely clean of any evidence of nuclear activity,” he said.

US lawmakers opposed to the Iran agreement cite “secret side deals” within it, among them provisions for inspections of Parchin. These provisions were not previously revealed to Congress as part of its 60-day review process of the deal, something that is required by law.

One day after Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said earlier this week that an IAEA official in Vienna had told them about the agreements with Iran, administration officials denied these constituted “secret side agreements” that were kept out of the agreement presented to Congress.

“There’s no side deals, there’s no secret deals, between Iran and the IAEA, that the P5+1 has not been briefed on in detail. These kinds of technical arrangements with the IAEA are a matter of standard practice, that they’re not released publicly or to other states, but our experts are familiar and comfortable with the contents, which we would be happy to discuss with Congress in a classified setting,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby said during his daily press briefing.

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