Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Iran’s Nuclear Selfies

The Wall Street Journal

 Tehran provides its own samples from Parchin. The IAEA is pleased
U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano from Japan speaks during an
interview in Vienna, Austria on May 12, 2015.

The current fad of the “selfie” photograph has a new category with the news that Iran has been allowed to self-inspect its suspected nuclear site at Parchin. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday that Iran had turned over samples that the Iranians had themselves collected from the military site that IAEA inspectors haven’t been allowed to visit in a decade.

The Iranians did take IAEA director Yukiya Amano on a supervised tour of Parchin on Sunday, and he announced himself well pleased with what his agency received. “The agency can confirm the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples,” Mr. Amano said.

But their authenticity and integrity are not the decisive issues. What matters is whether they provide a complete picture of Iran’s previous nuclear work. On that score Mr. Amano has to settle for whatever Iran provides him. He also isn’t about to say that the self-inspection process he recently endorsed has produced inadequate results—at least not if he wants to keep his job.

We are a long way from the go-anywhere, look-at-anything inspections that President Obama promised during negotiations. The Parchin selfies are especially dangerous because they are likely to set a new arms-control precedent for inspecting contested military sites in the future.

Gone are the kind of intrusive inspections that even Saddam Hussein had to tolerate until he kicked out inspectors. This is now the era of the selfie inspection, when rogue regimes provide their own samples, and inspectors-at-a-distance announce their gratitude for the cooperation.

Israel Project Managing Director of Press and Strategy Omri Ceren on news that Tehran tested nuclear sites on behalf of U.N. weapons inspectors