Satellite images of Iranian nuclear site sound alarm bells as IAEA meets in Vienna


At a crucial IAEA board meeting in Vienna, the United States accused Iran of violating the very nuclear deal that US negotiators are trying to restore.

“Since the last meeting of this Council, Iran has also exceeded the constraints of the JCPOA by enriching uranium to 60% U-235,” the US delegation said in a statement.

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The head of the UN nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, issued a similar warning. “My expectations regarding this process, of course, have not been met,” said the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “We have a country which has a very developed and ambitious nuclear program, which enriches to very high levels, enriches uranium to very high levels, very close to military quality.”

IAEA chief says it is no longer possible to say with certainty Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, blaming Tehran for failing to answer questions about finding uranium particles at former undeclared nuclear sites.

“The Iranian government has reiterated its willingness to engage, cooperate and provide responses,” Grossi said. “But they haven’t done it so far. So hopefully that can change, but as we speak we haven’t had any concrete progress on any of the issues.”

Satellite images show the site as of January 18, 2021

Satellite images show the site as of January 18, 2021
(Courtesy of Intel Lab)

The IAEA has agreed to extend a monitoring deal for a month until after the Iranian presidential election, as US and Iranian negotiators prepare to sit down and try to strike a new nuclear deal.

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New activity at known Iranian nuclear sites worries those seeking a new nuclear deal. A sixth round of indirect talks on a return to the JCPOA is scheduled for Thursday.

“We don’t know, at this point, whether Iran is willing and able to do what it should do to come back into compliance,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told US lawmakers. “I anticipate that even if there is a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions will remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. If they are not inconsistent with the JCPOA, they will remain so until. that Iran changes behavior. “

(Site satellite images as of October 15, 2020 (Courtesy Intel Lab))

Fox News has obtained new satellite images which show unusual activity at the Iranian Sanjarian site, which has been exposed in the past as a suspected manufacturing site of “shock wave generators” – devices that would enable the Iran to miniaturize a nuclear weapon.

The new images obtained from Maxar show 18 vehicles at the site on October 15, 2020, more vehicles and excavation in January as well as a new access road which was subsequently covered in March of this year. All that is visible by satellite now are whirlpools of excavation and new trenches, according to analysis by Itay Bar Lev of The Intel Lab who worked in conjunction with the Institute for International Science and Security. .

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The site, which is 40 kilometers from Tehran and has a population of 361, was first revealed when the Israeli Mossad obtained Iran’s secret nuclear archives in 2018: 50,000 computer files and 50,000 documents describing the Iranian project Amad, the scientific program to build a nuclear weapon which the IAEA says was stopped in 2003.

Israel says Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons continues. Now the IAEA – frustrated by Iran’s lack of transparency – says it can’t rule it out.

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