Iran military base: Sinister cover-up or just a harmless clean-up?

Parchin military base (image from Google Maps)
Satellite images of an Iranian military facility allegedly show attempts to clean the site of radioactive traces, diplomats have told AP. This adds to the stir over Iran’s nuclear activities, while Tehran insists on their peaceful nature.

Two of the diplomats told the news agency that the images show trucks and earth-moving vehicles. They claim the images indicate that crews were trying to clean up traces that could have come from the testing of a small neutron trigger used to set off a nuclear explosion.

A third diplomat could not confirm this, but stated that any testing of a so-called neutron initiator at the site could only be in the context of trying to develop nuclear arms, AP reports. The diplomats were speaking on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The diplomatic account comes as the international community puts more and more pressure on Tehran over allegations that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tensions are also increasing with Israel considering a possible preventive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Israeli PM’s national security advisor recently said that it is unlikely that Iran will give up its controversial nuclear activities without “a real military alternative.”

However, Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is peaceful and said it will allow the UN nuclear watchdog visit the Parchin military base, where the IAEA suspects Tehran conducted high explosives research related to nuclear weapons.

In late February, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltani, spoke exclusively to RT, stressing that his country “is not ruling out access to any military sites, including Parchin.” But there are conditions that Iran wants the IAEA to follow.

There should be a morality, a framework, a term of reference about what exactly they are looking for. We have to have insurance that we will not repeat the same bitter experience that every day they just come and ask for access,” Soltani pointed out.

Iran is being remarkably open in permitting the inspectors to visit the Parchin military base, believes political analyst Shabbir Razvi. “Iran is not obliged under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to allow IAEA inspectors to come to its military areas,” he told RT.

The six-party talks’ members – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – have called on Iran to open Parchin for International Atomic Energy Agency experts to investigate the site. 

Earlier the world powers agreed to a new round of talks with Iran.This opens a window of opportunity for a peaceful solution to the crisis that could possibly plunge the region into a full-scale war and push the global economy into a new recession.

The EU’s head of foreign policy, Catherine Ashton, said the EU hopes that there will be constructive dialogue which “will deliver real progress in resolving the international community's long-standing concerns on Iran’s nuclear program.”

Reza Marashi, from the National Iranian American Council, told RT that before taking any further actions the international community needs “to confirm these reports” and “focus on how to get Iran to come clean and prevent any future conflict.”

According to Marashi “a path to do that is to engage in a diplomatic process.” He also stressed that it is important to let Iran know that “they will not be punished for any sins previously committed otherwise they have no reason to come clean.”