Group Claims Iran Hiding
Another Nuclear Site
October 14, 2003
National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which has provided accurate
information to the international community about undeclared nuclear sites
in Iran in the past, said Tehran was hiding another facility near Isfahan
in central Iran.
"The (secret) site has been built to test centrifuges that enrich
uranium," NCRI official Firouz Mahvi told reporters in Vienna. "It
is located 15 km (nine miles) east of Isfahan under the name of Isfahan's
Fuel Research and Production Center."
"We have certainly not" hidden any facilities from the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Akbar
Salehi said. "This piece of information is absolutely baseless.
The NCRI also said
it would provide information on Iran's use of foreign technology in its
atomic program, as well as details about the Kalaye Electric Co., where
U.N. inspectors found traces of weapons-grade uranium.
The U.N. International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declined to comment on the NCRI allegation,
though it said it would closely study any information the exiles released
about Iran's nuclear plans.
In August 2002, the NCRI broke the news of two undeclared nuclear sites
in Iran -- a massive uranium-enrichment complex at Natanz and a heavy-water
production facility at Arak.
Tehran later declared these facilities to the IAEA, which has placed surveillance
cameras at Natanz to ensure that no undeclared nuclear activities take
In addition to the uranium found at Kalaye, the IAEA found traces of weapons-grade
enriched uranium at Natanz, fueling fears that Iran has been secretly
purifying uranium for use in an atomic bomb.
Tehran denies it secretly enriched uranium and blamed the traces on contaminated
machinery purchased abroad in the 1980s.
The IAEA declined to comment on the NCRI report. A Western diplomat familiar
with the IAEA said information provided by the NCRI, which Washington
lists as a terrorist organization, should be taken seriously, though its
record of accuracy was mixed.
"The IAEA has visited some sites the NCRI reported on this year,"
he said. "Some have turned out to be nuclear facilities and some
have not. They do not have ... 100 percent accuracy."
Last month the governing board of the IAEA gave Iran until October 31
to prove it is not diverting nuclear resources to a secret weapons program,
as the United States alleges, or face sanctions by the U.N. Security Council.
AEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has said the key issue for the IAEA is to
make sure it knows everything about Iran's uranium enrichment program
and whether it contains any sites or activities which have not been declared.
If ElBaradei still has doubts in November, Iran will likely be reported
to the Security Council.