UN nuclear inspectors have spent years trying to get the OK to visit a suspected nuke site in Iran; now, a new study of satellite imagery shows the country has covered much of Parchin with asphalt, the New York Times reports. The Institute for Science and International Security says the paving appears to be one of the final stages of an 18-month effort to "sanitize" the site, and a move that has "impacted the ability of IAEA inspectors to collect environmental samples and other evidence that it could use to determine whether nuclear weapons-related activities once took place there."
ISIS notes that the paving "would make it very hard to take soil samples and likely be effective at covering up environmental evidence of nuclear weaponization-related experiments." Iran, for its part, has said it's all part of maintenance and road work, and says no cleanup could erase traces of radiation, the AP reports. A former IAEA head described the paved-over area as resembling a huge parking facility but said that with "very little material movements and trucks driving in and out" of the site it was "hard to see what kind of work requires such parking lots." Tehran "has lost an important opportunity" to prove there was nothing to hide, he added. (Read more Iran stories.)