The site Iran doesn't want inspectors to see
A 2004 satellite image of the Parchin facility
February 22nd, 2012
01:57 PM ET

The site Iran doesn't want inspectors to see

By Adam Levine, with reporting from the CNN Wires team

Inspectors for the International Atomic Energy Agency left Iran on Tuesday unable to fully investigate Iran's nuclear program.

One site in particular remains a flashpoint. Iran refused to allow a team from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to visit its military base at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, during a just completed two-day visit, the IAEA said.

According to November's IAEA report, Parchin may have been the site of tests of high explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear bomb - experiments the agency called "strong indicators of possible weapon development.""It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin during the first or second meetings," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in the IAEA statement. "We engaged in a constructive spirit, but no agreement was reached."

The November report states that Iran built a large, cylindrical chamber at Parchin in 2000 that was designed to contain the force of up to 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of high explosives. IAEA inspectors visited the site twice in 2005, but did not go to the building now believed to have housed the test chamber, the report states.

However, environmental samples gathered did not show any signs of nuclear materials at the locations inspected, according to the 2006 IAEA report about the visit.

"It remains for Iran to explain the rationale behind these activities," the report noted.

The site houses an weapons development, including missiles, according to analysis by weapons experts at

"The extensive weapons development activity at the rest of the complex made it an entirely logical location for weaponization work for Iran's atomic bomb program," according to an analysis by  "The overall Parchin complex represents the leading center of Iran's munitions industry, so a nuclear weapons program would already have all the expertise needed within commuting distance."

The Parchin complex includes a separate, isolated area that is secured, according to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). It's in this area that weapons-related research is believed to have taken place, the ISIS analysis noted.

Visual inspection of Parchin by IAEA inspectors back in 2005 showed that "sites were not as capable as suggested by satellite imagery," according to the ISIS analysis.

"Although this visit dampened suspicions that this sites was dedicated to high explosive testing for nuclear weapons, suspicions about the Parchin site persist," the ISIS analysis said.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Nuclear • Satellite imagery
soundoff (396 Responses)
  1. Nicea

    Of course this isn't my site, but why is this pihsulbed here? We've seen all these lies and distortions many times, hundreds of times, and they don't make a whit more sense now than they did before. The fact that this guy, whatever his glossy state department credentials, is maybe a moderate' in the current scheme of things in the foreign policy establishment doesn't magically turn his sack of disinformation into gold. All it demonstrates is how insane the foreign policy mainstream truly is, and the CRUCIAL NECESSITY FOR HAVING THE COURAGE TO CALL OUT THE LIES AND DISTORTIONS. How many times does the point have to be made that we have seen this movie before?!!!If Fitzgerald is a moderate' thinker, than we are far closer to war than one feared.There's really no point to taking Fitzgerald's reeking argument' apart, since it makes no more sense than the Iraq arguments we all remember. Even if Iran HAD a bomb, it would make no difference that anyone needs to be concerned about, UNLESS they intend to attack Iran. All Iran would have would be a deterrent and barely that.But in any case, there is no evidence worth taking seriously that Iran IS seeking a bomb. At most, we can IMAGINE that they MIGHT be seeking some degree of capability or knowledge. Even if that's true, that would be their right, and that would undoubtedly put them in the same group as every single military on earth of any size. My God, these people would have to do SOME research at least to have an idea of what someone else might have pointed at them (and in Iran's case, both the US and Israel have in fact threatened them with nuclear attack). But there's very little reason to believe that Iran has even done signifigant research, to a point where we need to be seriously concerned.In fact, the context of this whole (non)issue, the context that NO ONE seems to ever care to mention, is that Iran's attempts to develope civilian nuclear power have been blocked by the US at every turn, and it is more and more obvious that Russia too has been dragging its feet in fulfilling its nuclear contracts with Iran, to the point where it might as well be said that Russia too is blocking Iran. In other words, these two nations that BOTH accuse Iran of having an enriched uranium stockpile in order to make bombs, have BOTH been most of the reason that Iran is sitting on a stockpile for which it cannot demonstrate a use. The screaming hypocrisy of both the US and Russia here are Mafia like. But oh, we dare not call it out for what it is, for august personages with glossy state department credentials declare very solemnly yes, much as they did when they were driving us to war with Iraq and were prepared to indulge any lie and distortion to get er done'.Fitzgerald reiterates the false claim that Iran rejected the original swap deal. Of course he knows that isn't true, that Iran accepted the deal in principle, but immediately proffered serious and legitimate reservations and possible fixes, which were rejected out of hand, and really quite viciously, by Obama. As Fitzgerald knows, that's not negotiation. Negotiation is when the folks on the other side of the table come back to you with issues and ways to deal with those issues, and you look them over and make counteroffers that take those issues seriously and seek to close gaps in reasonable ways. THIS IS PRECISELY WHAT TURKEY AND BRAZIL DID. They worked out with Iran a proposal that compromised between Iran's concerns and the US position. Turkey and Brazil showed how diplomacy is really done, and showed that what the US has been doing has NOT been diplomacy.One can go on and on. Fitzgerald also regurgitates the lie that Iran has insisted on enriching to 20%. As he knows, that's not true. Iran has made it clear that it will continue to enrich to 20% until an agreement has been finalized on the swap. This is an entirely reasonable position, and NOT the unreasonable danger sign' that Fitzgerald pretends it to be.Again, Fitzgerald speaks of the importance of making sure that Iran doesn't have enough enriched uranium on hand to be a bomb threat. As he knows, Iran's stockpile is under careful IAEA observation. In the extremely unlikely event that Iran decided to make a bomb, the process would be very public, and would be long and drawn out and to make the whole brouhaha about this even more absurd, THEY WOULD OBVIOUSLY NEED TO PRACTISE A LITTLE, dontcha think? Yes, of course they would. Enough uranium for one bomb or two would not be enough.Point after point made by this supposed moderate is simply absurd. This kind of foreign policy thinking' would be fine if we were all living in a Cirque de Soleil world, I suppose. In such a world, Israel could drop all the bombs it wanted on Iran and they would all turn into flowers. The US and EU could cripple' Iran with sanctions and they would all turn into dancing contortionists. The US could send a massive fleet to possibly confront Iran in the Straits of Hormuz and it would all be a marvelous tumbling act on the highwire.But if we aren't living in a Cirque de Soleil world, then we shouldn't dignify Fitz and his lying Sack of Verbal Crap. The Leverettes are going to have to learn that if they really want to be supporters of truth, they cannot continue to dance with those who are attacking truth, every damn day, day after day. At some point, you cannot maintain your good standing in the world that circulates lies until they become facts' upon which crippling' sanctions and wars are based. Iran has the same rights as any other nation. The situation is really not more complicated than that, in the end.

    March 2, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Reply
    • RobM

      Ill admit I didn't even come close to reading your rant in its entirety however the first few paragraphs I think your trying to say Iran cant/isn't/won't build a nuclear bomb. Well, we already found centrifuges in Iran for nuclear warheads and its known that A.Q. Khan has been to Iran teaching scientists and selling blueprints for building nuclear weapons much like he did for Pakistan and North Korea. Also, I read something along the lines that if they DID build a nuclear bomb it wouldn't be so much of a threat to us. No? What we are worried about is Iran selling/losing a nuclear warhead to terrorists who would smuggle it into the US and detonate by suicide bomber not long rang missiles.

      March 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
      • D Struck

        IRAN sucks!! Ruthless tyrants who treat their own people like animals Take IRAN out!! Scumballs need to be crushed now

        Montgomery is awesome!!

        March 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  2. Drew Peacock

    Drew Peacock

    Very smart move of Obama saying No to keystone pipeline. America really should NOT get oil from Canada. Let Canada ship their oil to Asia. America can get their oil from those great middle eastern producers, like IRAN!!! HAHAHAHHA what a joke. Oil is going to hit $140 a barrel and USA and Europe will go even deeper into Economic Chaos!! Lets all buy houses in Arizona: they will be $5000 next.

    I love it!!

    Montgomery is awesome!!

    February 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • Mike

      The initial project was intentionally routed through sensitive areas (like the water aqua firer). My guess is that this was deliberate. Now they have their pipeline going west to BC, and the second proposed keystone route will most likely get accepted (after the next US election). Canada (currently just a us proxy state with the cons at the helm) will have its two new pipelines.

      March 6, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
  3. Country Dick

    I was walkin' down the street just the other day....

    hubba, hubba, hubba, hubba, hubba........

    February 22, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply

    I just couldn't imagine the United States being a superpower if we didn't have 50 United States forming our Union. Likewise, during the cold war with the Soviet Union, I just couldn't have imagine the Soviets being able to compete with us as a militarily deterrent if they had not signed a unified pact with the Eastern Block nations. Well, I just wonder what kind of global leverage the Muslin/Arab world would have had if only they were to unite as a continent of nations with a common purpose and goal. We see how unified the Arab world could be during the weeks of pilgrimmage to Mecca but one has to wonder what kind of force these nations could have ellicited if only that unity during the pilgrimmage to Mecca was to be exuberated throughout the year. Perhaps Palestine would finally get their homeland and the western world would no longer able to push around the little guys in the Muslin/Arab world.

    But ther's one big problem and that's religion! Sunis hate Shite and Shite hate Kurds and each religious faction is against the other! That alone would be a big problem to begin with! I remember when I was in college in the mid 1080's, one semester I had taken a literature course and during the first half of the semester we studied Islam and the second half we studied Hinduism and I was totally shell shocked to learned that there are over two hundred religions in India. Good heavens! But yes, I often wonder what kind of global leverage and influence the Muslim/Arab world could have if they were more unified and less of an enemy within!

    When Saddam Hussein fell, what the western world and America discovered was that the best way to learn about the Muslim/Arab world and way of life and doctrines is from someone who was born and raised within the Muslim/Arab world. Don't believe it? Well, guess what? All our sophifiscated bombs and first class military couldn't bring peace to Iraq but Saddam Hussein's right hand alone when raised, calmed the masses and brought peace within in societ now in revolt for perhaps a hundred years according to Senator McCain!

    February 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
    • Robbie

      Interesting idea, the Arab states were very interested in a single Arab entity back in the 70's. As you can no doubt imagine, this never came to fruition.

      However I will comment on your last statement, about how the US of A's military might was unable to create peace in Iraq. A military is not designed to promote peace. A military is designed to bruise and batter the enemy into submission. The US has absolute military dominance, that's no question, however you can't nation build with an entity that's designed to destroy nations. My two cents. 🙂

      February 23, 2012 at 12:13 am | Reply
  5. Clinton Is A True-Blue Fuckin' Patriot, Man

    I know this because Clinton has been to Iraq. Therefore, he is an expert on all things middle East.
    Only Clinton speaks the truth. Everyone else is just too damn stupid and ignorant.
    If you are mad enough to even THINK of disagreeing with Clinton, he will put you in your place with insults, scorn and ridicule.
    If you dare criticize the glorious US of A, Clinton will question why you're still here. And ask why you aren't leaving.

    Clinton: I seriously doubt that you've ever stepped foot in Iraq, let alone outside the US. And if by chance you actually DID 'serve' – it was more than likely behind a desk. A fucking pogue. You will believe anything. Anything the Imperialist State controlled media shits down your gullible throat.

    Nothing more than a pathetic, lonely, pliant little puppet of a 'man'.

    February 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Reply
    • HereWeGoAgain

      Well said.

      February 23, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply

    @ Clinton
    Yes we have freedom of speech here in America and more so than Iran and perhaps that could explain why a Jewish American newspaper writer in Atlanta could call for the assassination of our President in his column. We have so much freedom of speech that our politicians can spread their blatant bigotry and hate and use insensitive and provacative words such as "dont retreat, reload," that those provacative words helped motivate an insane gunman to shoot and cripple Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords and kill six others including a ten year old American girl while she waved the American flag.

    We're such a great democracy that the tea party has done everything within its means to return America to the Jim Crow laws of the 1950's since the election of President Obama. Yea, this is some great democracy! And I may add this a democracy where the tea party has gone as far as to hire a hispanic gunman to take shots at the White House as a means of manipulating the Hispanic vote and a tea party that's involved in all sorts of domestic terrorism from shooting up democratic offices following passage of the historic healthcare legislation to blowing up the oil rid in the gulf to see to it that our nation's first African-American President fails. Yea, this is some great American democracy!

    February 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply

    @ Clinton

    Just yesterday I was reading up on the Israeli South African government nuclear pack that they had signed in the 1970's. This article talked about Israeli nuclear scientist who was involved in corrobation and exchange of its nuclear technology to the apartheid government. Moreover, this article also mentioned a secretative nuclear test that both governments conducted over the Indian ocean in the early 1970's in violation of the anti-nuclear proliferation threaty. .

    Furthermore, according to this article, their was such an enormous flash of light seen for miles across the Indian ocean when this nuclear test was conducted and at the time the US didn't know about the test and neither did the international community or the atomic watchdog. But it was the Soviet Union who detected the enormous flash of light and change of atmosphere as their spy planes were flying above. And according to this article, it was the Soviet Union who notified the United States and subsequently they warned that Israel was in violation of the atomic mandate was was attempting to vaporize the continent of Africa. These were the very words of the Soviet internal minister.

    I don't have all the details before me right now but you can google the Israeli South African nuclear pact of the 1970's and all the names of the scientists involved and day to day unfoldings are detailed. Let's face it, for half a century Israel has cried murder in wake of the atrocities committed against it by Nazi Germany but for the past couple of decades Israel has been involved in the same kinds of ethnic cleansing and war atrocities in the Middle East from 1948 to present, vaporizing refugee villages of men, women and children with American war planes and apachie helicopters to maintain their Zionist establishment.

    I remember when I was in college in the mid eighties and I saw footages of the mass mudrers of Jews in the Nazi concentration camps and years later on the history channel, I just couldn't hold back my tears. But today it really bothers me that Israel is committing the very same hanous war crimes and conspiring to commit the very same outrageous war atrocities that Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany committed. Let's face it, I have nothing against the people of Israel because they're good people but their government is rooted is evil. Plain and simple! And my heart goes out to the wonderful men, women and children of Palestine and I pray to God that they will some day soon get their well deserved homeland and be able to raise their families in peace side by side with Israel. I just pray and hope for it!

    February 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
    • oasis

      Sounds like you could use a history lesson on freedom in Iran Clinton.

      Mosaddegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran's petroleum industry and oil reserves. In response, the British government, headed by Winston Churchill, embargoed Iranian oil and successfully enlisted the United States to join in a plot to depose the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh. In 1953 US President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation was successful, and Mosaddegh was arrested on 19 August 1953. The coup was the first time the US had openly overthrown an elected, civilian government.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Reply
  8. Clinton

    to ca2010 – Bob – and the rest of the idiots on this blog.

    Those of you that sit back and try to say the US is wrong in basically every instance... why do you stay here? why don't you leave this country? It's fine for you to support Iran and be opposed to every single decision the US makes... since you live in America, you can actually voice those opinions, unlike Iran, where if you said a bad thing about that country's leaders in public you'd end up in jail or worse. It's easy to talk s#@$ when you're wrapped in freedom, the freedom that the US provides you. But the sheer fact that you believe all this bull!@#$ leads to the honest question, why don't you just f@!#$ing leave? Nobody wants you here... you obviously hate our Government, and we don't force people to stay.... SO MOVE! ..... go hang out with your buddy Ahmedenijad... or go to some other F!@#$ed up Arab nation where you can't oppose the Government or speak out against it or practice your religion freely... Look i know that it's okay to criticize ones leaders in this country, i whole-heartedly believe that, but the extent to which you freaks hate this country, you seriously need to leave. again, nobody wants you here... by the sounds of it, you probably don't work and don't pay taxes since all you do all day is sit around on CNN blogs hating on the US... so go... do us all a favor and leave. I'm done for the day, amazing how stupid some people are. Backing a Government in Iran that is religiously based, Anti-Semetic, Anti-free speech, anti-free religion, anti-women's rights, anti-civil rights... lol You people are pathetic.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • Larry


      February 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      @ Clinton
      Why is it you maintain they we should be involved in some kind of perpetual war ? Have you ever been to war, or are you one of these individuals that have just sat back and watch your countrymen get blown to hell. It's very easy to say let's go to war, when you don't have to make that sacrifice. When you are willing to give your life or the life of your child or other loved one for this purpose, then you have the right to get on your high horse. If you ain't done it, shut the hell up.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
    • Hiernonymous

      @Clinton: have you considered decaf?

      February 22, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Draft Dodger Newt

      Hey Clinton! The dry cleaners called.

      Your brown shirts are ready.

      February 22, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  9. steve

    Parchin (35.52°N 51.77°E) . If you look on google maps there is a soccer field... you know, just to hang out while U235 is getting ready. not.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • DoubleW

      Hey, even nuclear physicists and techs have got to unwind. After a sweaty day of A-bomb research and development, nothing like a couple of brisk rounds of soccer before evening prayers.

      February 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Reply
      • Draft Dodger Newt

        And if you look even closer, you'll see that it isn't a soccer ball they're kicking around.....'s Clinton's head.

        AI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI YI!!!!!!!!

        February 22, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  10. Logan

    The best we can do is a satellite image from 2004?? Give me the coordinates and I'll google map it in 2 seconds. STREET VIEW!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Reply
    • John

      What makes you think that's possible? If the UN can't get in what makes you think they'd let the google car drive passed the facilities? It can't be street viewed if a photo has never been taken.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • Sean

      They can see down to less then a 12" square. They also have infrared imagery too. Why on earth would we reveal our capabilities to our enemies? That doesn't include our flyovers either or HUMINT. Just geosynchronous orbiting satellites!

      February 22, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  11. Logan

    The best we can do is a satellite image from 2004? Give me coordinates, I'll google map that $hit in 2 seconds. STREET VIEW!

    February 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  12. Dubbya'

    Ha, ha! I $crewed all y'all and left you stuck holding the short end of the stick. Let oil go up to $200 bbl. Haliburton's been good to me and Tricky Dick.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
    • cyg

      white man's scalp trades on the open market for high dollars too – once we all go back to horseback, you can keep your oil and your worthless cash.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  13. JiminNM

    And what did Israel do when President Kennedy attempted to have the Dimona facilities inspected in the 1960's? Give me a break! If you cannot close down the Israeli program, leave the rest of the world alone.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • Larry

      Unfortunately, Israel needs those weapons for it's very survival. If they didn't possess them, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon would together reach their (oft-stated) goal of "wiping Israel off the Map". They have no choice, have the nukes or be annihilated.

      Not much of a choice, is it?

      February 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
      • HereWeGoAgain

        You might want to get your facts straight. Many of the countries you listed are allies with the US, and also that of Israel. In fact, Egypt is one of Israel's main allies in the middle east.

        February 23, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  14. Chris

    The headline here is that nothing was found by the IAIA. Iran doesn't want to be spied on but, the war starting media won't stop until they check under the president's bed. Iran needs to be more transparent. I think the solution is to have another inspection at the sites they are still worried about but, have Iran choose the inspecters and only on the condition a few santions get lifted. I also think the president should do an interview with western media to cool the war drums a bit.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • Bilbo

      You don't mean the president of Iran should do the interview, do you? He's not so good at calming anyone.

      February 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
      • Chris Perez

        It's the only way to bring some closure. He'll have to hire an american speech writer or something to jive with how people like to hear things but, if he doesn't the war drums will continue till he's dead.

        February 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Larry

      Chris, seriously. You want the Iranians to "choose their own inspectors"?

      That's an awful lot like having the fox guarding the hen-house. You'd expect a country that has lied to the world for at least the last decade about it's nuclear activities to pick honest inspectors?


      February 22, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.