H/T: Omri Ceren from the TIP, (backgrounder distributed to journalists) supplies some extra needed context to the issue:
”Last month the IAEA issued a blistering report saying that Iran had failed to meet 4/5ths of its transparency obligations by an agreed deadline, and had instead spent the time destroying evidence in a way that “likely… further undermined the Agency’s ability to conduct effective verification” [PDF: http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/gov-2014-43.pdf].
So this week the agency was back in Tehran to try to gain access to various sites where work related to possible military dimensions (PMDs) is thought to have occurred. No dice. Instead: “Iran did not propose any new measures during the meetings in Tehran. Iran and the Agency agreed to meet again, at a date to be announced.” Reuters article pasted at the bototm.
Remember what’s at stake with PMDs. The P5+1 is working with Iran on uranium, plutonium, and ballitsic missile. Underneath all of that, the IAEA is supposed to be working on getting Iran to come clean on the full scope of (1) its civilian atomic work (2) its military atomic work (PMDs).
The military part of the investigation isn’t just about weaponization work (in fact, weaponization should be the easiest to settle, if the Iranians are telling the truth about never having researched it). PMds are broader. The IAEA wants access to all the places where the Iranian military had its hand in any atomic work – uranium mining, centrifuge construction, enrichment facilities, full-blown weaponization work, etc. The goal is straightforward: they need to know what nuclear work the Iranian military was involved in, alongside parallel civilian work, so they can ensure that Iran halts all of its work per a future envisioned deal. Disclosure on PMDs is meant to establish the scope of a future verification regime.
And so PMDs aren’t just a fourth core issue, alongside uranium, plutonium, and ballistic misisles. Transparency is the prerequisite to creating any robust verification scheme on those other three issues. The IAEA can’t verify that Iran has met its obligations to limit uranium work, for instance, unless it knows the full scope of uranium work that’s being done – civilian and military. Ditto for plutonium work. Ditto for ballistic missiles.
And so stonewalling the IAEA doesn’t just mean that Iran is holding firm on 25% of the nuclear negotiations, and maybe giving way on uranium, plutonium, or missiles. It means that any concessions on other fronts is meaningless, because they can’t be verified without Iran disclosing the actual full scope of those activities.”
”Despite the Iranian authorities denail, images show damage to the military complex
24 hours after the reports from Iran regarding a mysterious explosion at the military compound in Parchin, evidence has been received that refutes the denials of the Iranian government.”
No breakthrough in IAEA-Iran talks on nuclear bomb inquiry
Thu Oct 9, 2014 2:04pm GMT Print | Single Page [-] Text [+]
By Fredrik Dahl
VIENNA (Reuters) – Talks between the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Iran this week appear not to have substantively advanced an investigation into suspected atomic bomb research by Tehran, potentially dimming chances for a broader deal between the Iranians and big powers.
Western officials say Iran must improve cooperation with United Nations nuclear sleuths if it wants to reach a settlement to a protracted dispute with six world powers over the country’s nuclear programme and be rid of crippling financial sanctions.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement after the Oct. 7-8 meeting in Tehran that discussions would continue. But it did not announce a date for the next round of talks focused on the Vienna-based IAEA’s concerns that Iran had initially been supposed to address by late August.
Diplomats in the Austrian capital said it seemed that very little, if any, progress had been achieved.
Tehran’s envoy to the Vienna-based U.N. agency, Reza Najafi, said the discussions had been “very constructive”, according to Iran’s ISNA news agency, which did not elaborate.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons, saying its atomic activities are aimed at generating electricity only.
Early last month, the IAEA said Iran had not answered questions by the Aug. 25 target date about alleged research activities into explosives testing and neutron calculations, which could be applicable to any attempt to make nuclear bombs.
In this week’s meetings, “the two sides held discussions in relation” to these two issues, the IAEA said, adding: “The agency and Iran will continue discussions on these measures.”
The IAEA gave no further detail. But its statement suggested strongly that the Islamic Republic had still not fully implemented the steps it had agreed to carry out, answering questions about what the United Nations agency calls the “possible military dimensions” of Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The IAEA has for years been trying to get to the bottom of Western intelligence reports suggesting that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead.