Those wondering why Iran finally broke down and signed a deal allowing inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency back into the country got their answer today. Both the IAEA and an American think tank released pictures from satellite images that show that buildings at the military facility at Parchin were recently razed. Because Parchin has been the focus of concern that the Iranians have been developing devices to test military applications of nuclear technology, including triggers for bombs, any effort to sanitize the site prior to the arrival of IAEA inspectors may make the watchdog agency’s efforts to police the program pointless.
The possible destruction of evidence at Parchin is just one more indication that Iran’s negotiating strategy with the West is a ruse intended to create delays that will enable the regime to get closer to its nuclear goal. With the P5+1 talks scheduled to resume next month, this development ought to place even more pressure on President Obama and his European allies not to give in to Iranian demands for acquiescence to continuance of their nuclear project or the lifting of sanctions.
Though the Iranians have tried to convince Western negotiators that their supreme religious authority had issued a fatwa against a nuclear bomb, Parchin was the place that seemed to give the lie to this assertion. Inspectors have never been allowed to enter the Parchin site, and it was hoped the new agreement with the IAEA would allow the agency to get to the bottom of suspicions it was being used specifically for work that could only be applicable for bombs. Though the Iranians may think they can fool EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton into thinking they are only interested in peaceful applications of nuclear technology, a cleanup at Parchin prior to the arrival of inspectors can only confirm that their aim is deception, not transparency. That is especially true because prior to the emergence of this evidence, it was clear there was intense activity going on at Parchin that could only be an indication that the notion of a peaceful Iranian nuclear program was a myth intended to disarm the West.
Though the United States and the EU refused to back off sanctions at last week’s P5+1 meeting in Baghdad, there is little doubt that both the president and the Europeans would prefer not to implement the existing sanctions or to expand them into an oil boycott of Tehran. The Iranians are counting on that reluctance to help them succeed at the next round of talks. The indications that they are embarked on a cover-up of their military research — the fruits of which can easily have been moved to some secret or underground facility — ought to put the West on its guard. It also ought to make it inconceivable that there be any abandonment of sanctions prior to the elimination of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the destruction of their stockpile of refined uranium.