Iran has resumed activities at an installation believed by some specialists to have housed nuclear-arms studies, says a Washington analytical group.
A Jan. 30 satellite photograph shows new movements at Iran’s Parchin base following an apparent lull in large-scale operations at the site, according to a Tuesday assessment by the Institute for Science and International Security. The facility remains off-limits to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors who suspect it may have once hosted a structure capable of accommodating atomic-relevant detonation experiments, as well as potential work on a “neutron initiator” to trigger nuclear blasts.
The think tank said that debris and possible construction supplies have appeared close to the suspected detonation chamber’s former housing, as well as near an edifice on the northern edge of the Parchin complex.
The finding came less than a week after IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano cited the appearance of apparent construction materials and debris at Parchin since November.
ISIS analysts said the alterations they found “are apparently the ones noted by the IAEA in the [Feb. 20] Iran safeguards report and listed among the issues that continue to create concerns about the hiding of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.”
The U.N. nuclear watchdog cannot access Parchin under a weeks-old agreement addressing other elements in an investigation of the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear activities. The international probe is intended to help clarify whether Tehran has ever considered weaponizing its atomic program.
In August, Amano stated that “extensive activities” at Parchin had “seriously undermined the agency’s ability to conduct effective verification” at the site.
A number of experts, though, have challenged the push by his organization to inspect the complex. The U.N. agency has not publicly disclosed supporting evidence supplied by member governments.
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"North Korea said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after President Donald Trump vowed to destroy the reclusive country, with leader Kim Jong Un promising to make Trump pay dearly for his threats. Kim did not specify what action he would take against the United States or Trump, whom he called a 'mentally deranged U.S. dotard' in the latest bout of insults the two leaders have traded in recent weeks."
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
President Trump on Tuesday night met with UN Secretary Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak. In both cases, as per releases from the White House, Trump pressed them on the need to reform the UN bureaucracy.