Nuclear inspectors who visited Iran didn’t find any equipment linked to nuclear-weapons research inside a building long suspected of holding a blast chamber, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said.
The agency’s investigators are still studying environmental samples taken by their Iranian counterparts at the Parchin military complex, Amano told reporters on Monday in Vienna. Renovations to the building of interest, identified after a November 2011 report detailed suspicions about Iran’s nuclear work, has “impeded” the agency’s efforts to verify activities at the site, he said.
“Significant progress has been achieved,” Amano said. “We entered a building, which the agency had previously only been able to observe using satellite imagery.”
The IAEA has until Oct. 15 to conclude its investigation into Iran’s nuclear past, and two more months to submit a report to its board of governors assessing the country’s activities. Once that report is complete, and Iran complies with the terms of its July 14 agreement with world powers, conditions would have been met for the lifting of sanctions against its financial and energy industries.
The agency will still need weeks to assess all of the information collected at Parchin, said Amano, who was accompanied by the IAEA’s top inspector, Tero Varjoranta, on the visit. It was the agency’s third trip to the sprawling military complex 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Tehran. Inspectors didn’t find evidence of wrongdoing on their last visit in 2005.
“The agency can confirm the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples,” Amano said. “The process was carried out under our responsibility and monitoring.”