The International Atomic Energy Agency is sticking to its secret agreement with Iran to allow it to monitor its own nuclear program.
Iran said Monday that it has provided samples to the UN nuclear agency collected by its own experts at the Parchin military site, where Western nations suspect it had worked on detonators for nuclear weapons.
The transfer came a day after Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was taken on a ceremonial tour of the military site and appeared to be part of a confidential draft agreement with the agency that allows Iran to gather its own samples.
Amano was paying a visit to Iran that will help to determine whether sanctions will be lifted. Article continues below…
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Amano has acknowledged that it agreed to have Iranian experts take samples it wants analyzed for signs that Tehran might have worked on atomic arms. But it says that the probe meets strict agency standards.
Such sampling is usually done by experts of the IAEA.
“Last week, several environment samples…taken by Iranian experts without the presence of the agency’s inspectors, were given to the UN nuclear inspectors.” Iran’s atomic energy agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Kamalvandi said the move was part of an agreement between Iran and the agency, without elaborating.
Iran denies it has ever sought nuclear weapons, and insists Parchin is a conventional military site. Tehran has refused to allow inspections of its military sites as part of the nuclear deal, under the claim that they fear foreign espionage. However, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit Parchin twice in 2005.
Under a confidential agreement seen by The Associated Press, Iranian experts monitored by video and photo cameras would gather samples from Parchin and then turn them over to the IAEA for laboratory analysis.
Western nations have long suspected Iran’s nuclear program has a secret military dimension. Iran insists the program is entirely devoted to peaceful purposes such as power generation and cancer treatment.
Under the July agreement, Iran would curb its nuclear activities and submit to new inspections in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.
A special Iranian parliamentary committee is reviewing the deal to prepare a report for lawmakers. Late Sunday, a member of the committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said he expected parliament would approve the deal.
“I think that the deal will pass through the parliament within the next week,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by Al-Alam, Iran’s state-run Arabic language TV channel.