Many people breathlessly shared an AP article about how Iran might provide its own soil samples to IAEA inspectors at Parchin. This is nothing new; it all came out in July and the administration has explained this arrangement to Congress in classified briefings. This does not set any precedent and is wholly unrelated to the intrusive inspections required in the JCPOA going forward.
If you are the least bit concerned, read Max Fisher’s analysis:
The bottom line here is that this is all over a mild and widely anticipated compromise on a single set of inspections to a single, long-dormant site. The AP, deliberately or not, has distorted that into something that sounds much worse, but actually isn’t. The whole incident is a fascinating, if disturbing, example of how misleading reporting on technical issues can play into the politics of foreign policy.
Not only that, but we don’t even need the IAEA to establish a baseline on Iran’s prior nuclear weapons research and development. According to current and former members of the House Intelligence Committee, our own “Intelligence is far more comprehensive and accurate than the statements we are likely to obtain from Iran’s scientists or the information we can gather from IAEA access to sites Iran has had a decade to bulldoze and sanitize.”
But if nothing else, remember this: Iran is not allowed to inspect itself.