Report: Iran May Have Built New Nuclear Site
An exiled Iranian opposition group says that it has information on Iran's nuclear building sites, including a prime building site for several atomic bombs, Al-Arabiya's English site reports.
The group, called The National Council of Resistance of Iran, exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water facility at Arak in 2002. In 2007, the NCRI declared that Iran had resumed its nuclear weapons program since at least 2004, one year after being ordered to shut it down.
The Council, founded in 1981 in France, is the parliament in exile of the "Iranian Resistance", a political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition political organizations. In 2012, the US removed the NCRI from its watchdog list of terrorist organizations. Canada also removed the group from their watchlist the following month, leading to public criticism from then-Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.
On Monday, the NCRI said members of its affiliated People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) inside the country had obtained reliable information on a new and covert site designated for Iran’s nuclear project. But it had no details of what kind of nuclear activity was being carried out there.
“According to specific information obtained by the Iranian resistance, the clerical regime is establishing or completing parallel secret and undeclared sites for its nuclear project,” NCRI official Mehdi Abrichamtchi told reporters.
The NCRI said the new site was inside a 600 meter tunnel complex beneath mountains 10 km (6 miles) from the town of Mobarekeh, adjacent to the Esfahan-Shiraz highway, within the existing Haft-e Tir military industrial complex.
Abrichamtchi said work on the site began in 2005 and the construction of tunnels ended in early 2009. Work on the facilities was recently completed, he said.
Al-Arabiya also added that the NCRI official said Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research handled Iran’s sensitive nuclear activity and also managed the new facility. The site had extra security compared to the rest of the military complex, he said.
Abrichamtchi said the information had been sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The IAEA recently declared that it has changed its previous stance about Iran's nuclear program, saying that Iran has become serious about negotiations for a diplomatic solution to the problem.
The information may be crucial, surfacing just days before talks resume at the international P5+1 conference in Geneva to discuss a possible deal with the Islamic Republic. Iran has reportedly been offered an easing on economic sanctions, in exchange for their reducing their nuclear weapons program.
Both Israel and France have rejected the move, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu calling it "a very bad deal" and other Israeli officials pointing out that Iran's acceptance does not guarantee that they will actually stop building nuclear weapons.