[Update: if you need to be reminded what the big fuss with Parchin and the supposed "explosives testing chamber" there is all about, read this.]
The New York Times has a typically one-sided and frantic report about how Iran is supposedly decontaminating Parchin military base with water, according to ISIS and David Albright.
Now, I'm no nukular expert or nuthin' but seems to me that you can't just wash away the evidence of nuclear weapons tests, especially if they supposedly involved neutron initiators, as claimed. And, this suggests the Iranians are aware of the physics well enough to know they can't simply wash it away:
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast says claims of a US security institute about Tehran trying to clean up the Parchin site resemble a “joke.”
“This institute is a bit inexperienced. If it had more experience it would have known nuclear activities, the way they claim, could not be cleaned and they are joking with our nation,” Mehmanparast said Wednesday.
But aside from all that, I've written about how David Albright has been pushing Parchin as a nuclear weapons site for a while. Remember, the only real reason Albright could use to support his suspicions about Parchin is that it simply appears like a "logical candidate" for a secret nuclear site (Just read this and count the number of "may be" and "could be" statements.)
I won't comment too much about how the NY Times seems to be OK with violating some basic rules of reporting when it comes to Iran -- like the idea that you need to get an alternate view from someone other than the person whose views you're too busy parroting. You know, like maybe an independent expert at satellite photo analysis, or someone who knows about all the construction that's constantly done at Parchin, or rainfall, etc. But apart from that, the New York Times leaves the key fact -- that Parchin was already visited by IAEA officials in the past -- for a single, short sentence all the way at the end of the article. And even then, the NY Times still manages to lie about that fact:
Iran allowed inspectors to visit Parchin in 2005. But that visit was heavily chaperoned and did not include a tour of the suspected testing chamber cited in the agency’s November report.
The implication, of course, is that we should overlook the fact that the IAEA did not find anything untoward back then in 2005, since these visits were "highly chaperoned" (why would this have prevented them from doing their job, exactly? Does being chaperoned prevent them from taking their tests and measurements?) and did not include the particular site. Ah, but this narrative of the former IAEA visit to Parchin is totally false and misleading because it leaves out some pertinent facts:
First of all, Iran allowed two separate visits by the IAEA to Parchin in 2005, not just one visit as the NY Times says. This is because the first visit turned up exactly nothing, so David Albright went on a crusade and insisted that the IAEA should go back again. They did. Again, nothing was found. Whether they were chaperoned or not is irrelevant, of course, since chaperones don't prohibit the inspectors from doing their jobs in anyway. The tiny atoms of fissile material that the inspectors were looking for don't suddenly run away at the sight of an approaching chaperone.
Secondly, whether the particular building was visited or not, Iran did not limit the IAEA's ability to visit the facilities in Parchin. Specifically, Iran allowed the IAEA visitors to pick any 5 buildings of their own choice, and to obtain environmental samples. So, if Iran was hiding a secret explosive chamber used for nuclear weapons work, it was taking a rather large risk to allow the IAEA to go snooping around like that.
Finally, though the NY Times suggests that the IAEA visitors to Parchin were somehow too restricted to do their jobs right, lets remember that the IAEA itself did not complain about anything at the time, and even officially welcomed and appreciated the access provided by Iran to the site in the following IAEA statements:
GOV/2005/67, dated 2 September 2005, paragraph 41, “As described by the DDG-SG in his 1 March 2005 statement to the Board, in January 2005, Iran agreed, as a transparency measure, to permit the Agency to visit a site located at Parchin in order to provide assurance regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities at that site. Out of the four areas identified by the Agency to be of potential interest, the Agency was permitted to select any one area. The Agency was requested to minimize the number of buildings to be visited in that area, and selected five buildings. The Agency was given free access to those buildings and their surroundings and was allowed to take environmental samples, the results of which did not indicate the presence of nuclear material, nor did the Agency see any relevant dual use equipment or materials in the locations visited.”
GOV/2005/67, dated 2 September 2005, paragraph 49, “Iran has permitted the Agency, as a measure of transparency, to visit defence related sites at Kolahdouz, Lavisan and Parchin. the Agency found no nuclear related activities at Kolahdouz.”
GOV/2005/87, dated 18 November 2005, paragraph 16, “On 1 November 2005, following a meeting held on 30 October 2005 between Mr. Larijani, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, and the Deputy Director General for Safeguards (DDG-SG), the Agency was given access to the buildings requested within the area of interest at Parchin (see para. 41 of GOV/2005/67), in the course of which environmental samples were taken. The Agency did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited. Its final assessment is pending the results of the environmental sample analysis.”
GOV/2005/87, dated 18 November 2005, paragraph 21, “The Agency welcomes the access provided to the Parchin site.”
GOV/2006/15 dated 27 February 2006 paragraph 32, “On 1 November 2005, the Agency was given access to a military site at Parchin where several environmental samples were taken. The Agency did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited, and the results of the analysis of environmental samples did not indicate the presence of nuclear material at those locations.”
GOV/2006/15 dated 27 February 2006 paragraph 52. In this regard, Iran has permitted the Agency to visit defense related sites at Kolahdouz, Lavisan and Parchin. The Agency did not observe any unusual activities in the buildings visited at Kolahdouz and Parchin, and the results of environmental sampling did not indicate the presence of nuclear material at those locations.