REPORTAGE : Iran rejects US demand for inspection of its military sites


Iran has dismissed a top US diplomat’s demand for the inspection of Iranian military sites by the UN nuclear watchdog, shrugging off comments by America’s ambassador to the UN as only a “dream.”
Iran’s government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters that the demand by Ambassador Nikki Haley wasn’t worth any attention.

Iran will not accept any inspection of its sites and “especially our military sites.”

He says the sites and all information about them are “classified.” Iranian state TV broadcast his Nobakht’s remarks.

Earlier last week Haley said the United States wants inspection of Iranian military and non-military sites to determine its compliance with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The deal saw Iran cap its nuclear activities, in return for lifting of crippling sanctions.

In January 2016 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran completed the necessary steps under the Iran deal that ensures the peacefulness of the Iran’s nuclear program.

Since then the West has been lifting sanctions on Iran. The US will only lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

Following satellite imagery presents several major nuclear facilities in Iran between 2009 and 2016. Various levels of activity are observable at each location.

In the past, these sites have raised numerous concerns among the Western leaders. Some of them have been major points of nuclear negotiations.


Iran Nuclear Facilities Under the Iran Deal

Under the Iran deal, Iran agreed to redesign, convert and limit its nuclear facilities.

Particular focus was put on Iran’s uranium-enrichment capabilities, putting serious limitations on uranium-enrichment facilities in Iran – Natanz and Fordow.

Another highly scrutinized facility was the Arak heavy water reactor and production plant that Iran agreed to completely redesign in order not to be able to produce a weapons-grade material.

Among other resolutions, Iran also agreed to allow inspection of all its nuclear facilities and the IAEA inspectors will be able to request visits to military sites. However, it doesn’t guarantee them access to military sites.

 Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant
33.724084, 51.722354

Natanz is the primary location of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. Located 160 miles southeast of Tehran, Natanz is Iran’s oldest and largest uranium enrichment facility.

The central part of the Fuel Enrichment Plant is situated underground, with two cascade halls containing thousands of centrifuges.

Under the Iran deal, Iran must reduce the number of operational centrifuges at Natanz from 19,000 to 5,060. Natanz is also the only facility in which uranium enrichment research and development activities can take place.

All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe

All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe

Parchin Military Complex

35.533790, 51.752149 & 35.559632, 51.785120

Parchin, the center of Iran’s munitions industry, is one of the most suspected sites in Iran.

Located about 19 miles southeast of Tehran, the large military complex focuses on research, development, and production of ammunition, rockets, and high explosives.

In the past, Parchin has aroused suspicions of secret nuclear weapons work on several occasions.


Conducting nuclear weapons development at Parchin would be a logical step for Iran since conventional high explosive activities would hide nuclear weapons development work.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran has allowed the IAEA inspectors access to the facility in October 2015. The IAEA found a small amount of man-made uranium, leading to the assumption that some nuclear weapons-related experiments had taken place at the base.

Since it is a military base, Iran stated that the IAEA inspectors will not be able to repeat their visit to Parchin.

Following satellite imagery captures Parchin facilities to test armaments that produce shrapnels. It has been suspected that it is a possible nuclear weapons research and testing facility.

All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe


Some serious concerns have raised an isolated site within the complex.

The separately secured site is suspected of housing a high explosive test chamber that would be used for nuclear weapons development.

In recent years, Iran has been reconstructing the site, giving it a cleaner look. Such sanitization efforts could hide potential nuclear explosives tests as no incriminating evidence would be found.

Iran rejected the accusations, stating they were conducting only a road repair work.

All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe

Works were revived in 1995, with Russia named as the main contractor. Russians began to ship nuclear fuel for the plant in 2007 and loading of the nuclear fuel started in August 2010, signaling the activation of the plant.

Since September 2013 the plant is fully operational.

In the past, Bushehr have raised some concerns among Western leaders. However, currently the West does not view Bushehr as a proliferation risk due to the Russian involvement in the project and Iran’s emphasis on its peaceful aspects. The plant is designed to produce civilian nuclear power.

Note construction works on the Reactor 2. They appear to make slow progress. All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe



Darkhovin, located about 25 miles south of Ahvaz in southwest Iran, is a planned nuclear power plant. One reactor is firmly planned, while some other projects on the site were cancelled.

Basing the design on the Arak reactor, the plant is meant to be Iran’s first entirely domestic reactor project.

Construction has been delayed and there is currently no public information on Darkhovin’s fate under the Iran deal.

There have been almost no changes on the site between 2009 and 2016, confirming a serious delay in the Darkhovin project. All Imagery Ⓒ DigitalGlobe



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