IRAN COVER-UP – AT 8:38 A.M. ET: Satellite photos show what is probably a major attempt by Iran to "cleanse" a nuclear site that arms inspectors want to visit. The Iranians, once the site is sanitized, could offer entry to the inspectors as a "gesture of peace." From London's Telegraph:
New satellite photographs appear to show that unusual activity has taken place in recent weeks at the Parchin site outside Tehran, according to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).
A large stream of water pictured flowing from the building, said to feature an “explosive chamber” for testing, “raises concerns that Iran may have been washing inside the building," according to the group.
A series of unidentified items were also shown lined up outside the building in the April 9 photographs. Pictures taken in March and in July 2011 showed neither, suggesting unusual recent developments.
David Albright, ISIS's founder, said its finding backed up concerns at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been denied access to the site since 2005, over recent “activity” there.
“Iran should immediately allow IAEA inspectors into the Parchin site and allow access to this specific building,” said Mr Albright, a former inspector. “It should also explain the purpose of the activities."
Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General, said earlier this year that he had “information” that “activity is ongoing” at the site, which is at the centre of the controversy over Iran's nuclear scheme.
The IAEA believes that a large explosives containment chamber was installed at the complex in 2000 for explosives experiments that are “strong indicators of possible weapons development.”
COMMENT: Nuclear talks with Iran resume later this month. There is no expectation of a breakthrough. No negotiation with Iran on its nuclear program has ever succeeded.
The new, unity government in Israel puts additional pressure on Iran, with the threat of an Israeli air strike looming. And Joe Biden said yesterday that Israel had a right to defend itself against the Iranian nuclear menace. He did not pledge administration support for an eventual Israeli attack on Tehran's nuclear program, but did hint at it. In addition, the U.S. has been boosting its forces around Iran.
May 9, 2012