Iran Denies Building New Nuclear Facility
The Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected on Friday a claim by an Iranian dissident group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), which said a day earlier that it had documentation proving the existence of a previously unknown underground nuclear facility in Iran.
The ministry’s spokesman, Seyyed Abbas Araqchi, dismissed the claim as mere lies by the “desperate” group.
“This report is by no means true and is denied [by the Islamic Republic of Iran],” Araqchi was quoted by the Iranian-based PressTV as having said.
“The terrorist MKO has been so discredited that the publication of such stories by them is not worth a response,” he added.
MKO, whose members are in exile in Paris, said Thursday the secret facility is currently under construction, and will be used for nuclear research and development, the group said, although it is not clear what specific work will be done there.
The group said the new facility was about 50 kilometers northeast of Tehran, near the town of Damavand, and is part of an extensive network of underground tunnels and facilities Iran has been working on since 2006. The group also released satellite images of the site.
Western analysts who have seen the images told news agencies that while it was possible the facility could be used for nuclear work, there was no direct evidence from the images that it would be used thusly.
Iran has held several rounds of talks with six major powers -- the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, known collectively as the P5+1, about its nuclear program. Each round has ended without results.
The P5+1 is particularly concerned about Iran's enrichment to levels of up to 20 percent and wants it to shut the Fordow fortified bunker where the sensitive activity is conducted. The group also wants Iran to ship out its existing stockpile of 20-percent enriched material.
Iran recently elected “moderate” Hassan Rowhani as the country’s new president, but he stressed soon after his election that Tehran would not consider halting the country’s uranium enrichment activities entirely.
Iran’s Supreme Leader has blamed the West for the standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the standoff can be solved easily if the Western states stop their stubborn attitude.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)