White House Admits Uranium at Iranian Facility Probably Tied to Weapons

PARCHIN, IRAN-FEBRUARY 14, 1013: This is a satellite image of the Parchin facility in Iran
DigitalGlobe via Getty Images

If anyone is still keeping score on Barack Obama’s horrible Iranian nuclear deal, the confirmed discovery of weapons-grade uranium particles at the Parchin facility is another major blow.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House has conceded the particles were probably tied to the A-bomb research Iran supposedly was not engaged in:

Traces of man-made uranium were found at the Parchin facility, southeast of Tehran, by investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, as part of an investigation tied to the landmark nuclear deal reached last July between Iran and global powers.

The Iranians have claimed that the site was used for developing and testing conventional weapons. The particles were the first physical evidence—on top of satellite imagery and documents from defectors—to support the charge that Iran had been pursuing a bomb there.

The Obama administration didn’t comment about the uranium in December when the IAEA released its report; the finding got only one brief mention in the 16 pages. But in recent interviews, current and former U.S. officials asked about the uranium finding said the working assumption now is that it is tied to nuclear weapons development that Iran is believed to have pursued more than a decade ago.

Of course, the Obama White House is still eager to serve as Iran’s pro-bono law firm, with one “senior Administration official” telling the Journal that uranium particles “would be consistent with our understanding of the involvement of Parchin in a past weapons program, but by themselves don’t definitively prove anything.”

However, the WSJ indicates that other U.S. officials have largely ruled out other possible explanations for the particles, such as the processing of depleted uranium for conventional cannon shells.

The Iranians, of course, continue denying they were researching nuclear bombs at Parchin or that they have worked for years to sanitize the site as inspectors believe. They also claim the document stash accumulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency was largely faked.

This is not only significant because it is more evidence the Obama administration falsified the narrative of the Iranian nuclear deal but because it suggests Iran could spin up its weapons research again more quickly than the White House claimed (and they were already talking about a distressingly short breakout time). Critics of the Iran deal have long complained that without a full accounting of Tehran’s past activities, it is difficult to judge their level of compliance with the terms of the deal.

The WSJ also notes that Iran has not committed to allowing inspectors back into Parchin, even though the nuclear deal obliges them to grant full access to the IEAE at all suspected nuclear sites. New construction of unknown purpose is under way at Parchin, according to satellite photography, potentially making further detective work by nuclear inspectors more difficult, if they’re allowed back to the site at all.

Writing at CommentaryJonathan S. Tobin says the discovery of these uranium particles is “proof that the deal is more of a prayer than the guarantee Obama promised.”

“All the talk that the deal ended the Iranian threat has been exposed as empty and meaningless,” Tobin declares:

If the administration’s spin about Iran becoming more moderate- a claim made most recently by Deputy National Security Director Ben Rhodes in an interview with the New York Times last month – were true, this might not matter. But since everything that has happened in Iran since the conclusion of the deal shows that the regime is just as radical and dedicated to aggression and terrorism as it ever was, the Parchin clues are ominous signs of the danger that lies ahead.


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