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Exiled Group Claims Iran Hiding
Another Nuclear Site

Paraphrased by:
Steve Waldrop
October 14, 2003

The 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 place there.

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.