When International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Yukiya Amano declared Friday, May 4, that “Parchin (the suspected site of nuclear-related explosion tests) is the priority and we start with that,” he may have missed the boat. As he spoke, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it was possible that Iran was already putting in place the infrastructure for building a nuclear bomb in 60 days.
In this regard, DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that Iran had by the end of 2009 early 2012 completed the construction of a new chain of underground facilities deep inside the Dasht e-Kavir (Great Salt Desert) – all linked together by huge tunnels.
Nevertheless, Tehran keeps on putting off nuclear watchdog inspections at Parchin for three reasons:
1. To carry on squeezing concessions from the US in private talks between the Obama administration and Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as from the Six Powers at their formal negotiations. Iran has won permission to enriching uranium up to 5 percent purity and is after approval for the 20 percent which is close to weapon grade.
2. The Iranians can’t be sure they have scrubbed out every last trace of the nuclear explosives and detonators tested at the Parchin military base – even after clearing away the evidence and relocating the facility in the salt desert wastelands.
Asked to define the activities he wanted inspected in Parchin, Amano said: “We do not have people there so we cannot tell what these activities are.” According to DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources, while the IAEA may want hard physical evidence collected by its inspectors, US and Israeli intelligence have long possessed solid information on the illicit activities in Parchin collected by the nuclear-sensitive instruments carried by their military satellites.
3. To guarantee that the IAEA inspection at Parchin will be the last and there will no further demands for visits to any more suspect sites.
Tehran cannot tell exactly what data on additional facilities has reached US or Israeli intelligence and at what moment they may pull their discoveries out of their sleeves with fresh demands. Iran is therefore bargaining for a line to be drawn at Parchin to close any future road for good so that it can carry on nuclear work at the new Great Salt Desert locations safe from discovery.