U.S.: Newly Revealed 'Covert' Iran Facility Not Nuclear

U.S. backs Iran's insistence that site 'exposed' by Iranian dissident group alleging secret uranium enrichment was in fact not a nuclear facility.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The United States took a surprising stance on Friday supporting Iranian claims that it was not building a new secret uranium enrichment facility, after an Iranian opposition group exposed satellite imagery on Thursday allegedly proving the existence of a secret nuclear site some 120 kilometers from Tehran.

The president of Strategic Policy Consulting pointing to a monitor reportedly showing tunnels to a nuclear site in Washington on Sept. 9, 2010. Credit: AFP

The Iranian dissident group said on Thursday the information came from a network of sources inside Iran affiliated with the exiled opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People's Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI).

Washington, which along with its European allies accuses Iran of trying to build nuclear bombs, said it had known about the facility for years and had no reason to believe it was nuclear.

"We have informed the International Atomic Energy Agency about all of our nuclear facilities, Iran's top nuclear official Ali Akbar Salehi said.

The NCRI in 2002 exposed Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy-water facility at Arak. But analysts believe the group, which opposes Iran's clerical establishment, has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda.

The group had satellite photographs of the alleged newly discovered site, which it said was under a mountain near Qazvin, about 75 miles (120 km) west of Tehran, and was about 85 percent complete.

Uranium enrichment can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or, taken to a higher level, for atomic bombs. Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating power.

However, Iran's record of secrecy has stoked suspicions, heightened by the February launch of higher-grade uranium enrichment of 20 percent fissile purity, bringing it closer to weapons-grade material.

In Vienna, Britain's envoy to the United Nations nuclear watchdog on Friday called Iran "uniquely obstructive" for rejecting some inspectors from the IAEA.

Ambassador Simon Smith also suggested his government would look into claims by the dissident group that it had evidence of a new secret underground nuclear site.

Iran said in November that it had plans to build 10 more nuclear sites.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer