Iran Should Grant the IAEA Further Access to Parchin

Institite for Science and International Security (ISIS)

March 24, 2005

The Parchin military complex in Iran is located about 30 kilometers southeast of Tehran. This huge complex is dedicated to research, development, and production of ammunition, rockets, and high explosives. The site, owned by Iran's military industry, has hundreds of buildings and test sites.

During the IAEA’s only visit to the site, in January 2005, it was allowed to visit only one area out of four possible areas and permitted into only 5 buildings in this area. The IAEA was given free access to these buildings and their surroundings and permission to take environmental samples. The IAEA saw no relevant dual-use equipment or materials in the locations they visited. They are awaiting the results of sampling to determine whether any nuclear material was used in that area.

In addition to high explosive test sites, there is other activity at Parchin which warrants closer scrutiny. For example, there is a site that was under construction in August 2004 and is located about one kilometer from the area visited by the IAEA. The construction involves the excavation of a hilly area. This excavation may be intended to use the hill to physically support a future structure. It may have also have involved tunneling into the side of the hill. The actual purpose of this site is difficult to discern. If tunneling is occurring, the site could have a range of purposes, none of which can be singled out from the imagery as more likely than the others. If no tunneling is occurring, the site could be for some type of armaments testing.

In late-February 2005, Iran told the IAEA “there is no justification for any additional visit.” The IAEA Board of Governors, in its November 29, 2004 resolution, requested that, “Iran as a confidence building measure … provide any access deemed necessary by the Agency in accordance with the Additional Protocol.” It is in Iran’s best interest to accept this condition, and allow the IAEA to visit Parchin as it deems necessary.

For more information, please contact David Albright at (202) 547-3633.