By Pam Benson
Recent satellite imagery shows Iran continues to clean up areas of a controversial military site believed to be involved in its nuclear program, according to analysis of the images by a Washington-based think tank.
The Institute for Science and International Study obtained imagery from GeoEye taken on June 7 that shows heavy machinery tracks and earth displacement consistent with a cleanup effort at the Parchin Military Complex, according to the institute's analysis.
GeoEye is a commercial satellite imaging company.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has been seeking access to the site, where it suspects Iran may have conducted high-explosives tests related to the development of nuclear weapons. Two days of talks in Moscow this week between Iran and international powers ended with no agreement on stemming Iran's nuclear program.
In its latest report, Institute for Science and International Study also said the new imagery shows "a notable flow of water" near an unidentified object next to the suspected explosive test building.
"The water flows into areas that have considerable activity due to heavy machinery traffic or earth removal, activities which appear likely to persist," stated the report, written by David Albright and Robert Avagyan.
The institute has been keeping tabs on activity at the site for some time and has periodically released reports analyzing the most recent satellite photos. Previous imagery showed buildings that have since been destroyed, roads that have now disappeared and other activity that the institute says indicates a cleanup effort by the Iranians.
The institute pointed out that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, during a June 4 news conference, made reference to the various suspect activities at Parchin captured in satellite photos.
"This recent imagery taken a few days after the statements shows the activities mentioned by the director general and confirms that the IAEA should be concerned that Iran is attempting to cleanse the site prior to allowing an IAEA visit," the report stated.
The IAEA has continued to press Iran for immediate access to the Parchin site, but Iran has refused.