Out of the Blue

During last month’s visit of a high-ranking delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Tehran, widely held as another flop in the long history of a largely troubled relationship between the Agency and Iran over its disputed nuclear program, access was denied to Parchin, a military complex 30 km southeast of Tehran. The complex has been mentioned in the Annex of IAEA Director General (DG) Yukiya Amano’s November 2011 report on Iran as a site where allegedly experiments had been conducted with high-explosives in the early 2000s. The site had already been visited twice by IAEA inspectors in 2005 who could not verify these allegations.

It wasn’t clear why the IAEA team of Deputy DG for Safeguards Herman Naeckerts insisted to visit the military complex now. An at first glance bizarre counter offer to visit another site also mentioned in Amano’s report, Marivan in Iranian Kurdistan where Iran allegedly had tested explosives designed for its Shahab-3 missile warhead, came, according to IAEA sources, “out of the blue”, as Reuters got to know. The agency team was completely unprepared to go there.

“Vienna-based diplomats said the agency team at the talks had turned down a last-minute offer for them to go to another site, Marivan, also mentioned in the IAEA report as it detailed research activities relevant for atomic bombs.”

According to nuclear weapons scientists and former IAEA director Robert Kelley, uranium traces could still be found in Marivan if used in the experiments, as Ladane Nasseri wrote on February 21 at Bloomberg. “Iran should allow the IAEA to go to Marivan and take samples at the site where Iran supposedly did their full-scale high-explosive tests,” said Kelley, who helped debunk forged intelligence before the 2003 Iraq War. “The agency needs to put Marivan first because it is the sleeping dog in the last report.” (Emphasis added.)

According to Kaveh Afrasiabi who writes at Middle East Online, it was Amano himself who ordered Naeckert’s delegation immediately back to Vienna after having been contacted by the team. Two days later, his (biased rather negative) report on Iran does not mention the counter offer but Iran’s denial of visiting Parchin.

So, true diplomacy would mean that the visit to Marivan is due next time Naeckerts arrives in Tehran.

Last modified March 4, 2012.

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