The latest satellite imagery clearly shows the suspected high explosive test building covered in a pink-colored material. A comparison with previous satellite images of the building shows that the size of the now covered building has visibly increased, especially in its height. In consultation with experts ISIS believes that the covering tarp is supported underneath by scaffolding which would account for the increase in size as well as for the horizontal lines appearing under the tarp (figure 1).
Similar activities appear to be taking place at the northernmost building at the site. Currently only part of the roof appears covered by the pink-colored tarp; however, similarly colored material is visible on the ground next to the building suggesting that it may soon be covered.
The purpose of covering the buildings could be to conceal further cleanup activity from overhead satellites or to contain the activity inside. Depending on how effective of a seal the tarp provides, the goal could be continue sanitizing the inside and outside of the building that is suspected to contain particles indicative of nuclear weapons development work. Alternatively tarps could provide a cover for the demolition of the buildings, or portions of them, while also containing the spread of potentially contaminated debris.
This new phase of activity at Parchin comes just before the September meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors. Given Iran’s refusal of access to the Parchin site and its refusal to discuss any other evidence of weaponization work, the IAEA may be unable to make further progress in addressing issues concerning the military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. ISIS reiterates its call made in its August 1, 2012 report that unless Iran demonstrates concretely that it is willing to address these issues, the Board should pass a resolution that refers this set of issues to the U.N. Security Council for further action, including the imposition of additional sanctions