The Global Security Network, September 9, 2010
Alireza Jafarzadeh, Foreign Affairs Analyst and Iran Expert
Washington, Sep. 09 – Iran is secretly building a uranium enrichment site near Qazvin, 120 km west of Tehran, Iranian Resistance said on Thursday.
The information was unveiled at a press conference organized by the Iran Policy Committee in Washington.
According to the reports by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) The Behjatabad-Abyek site, code-named ‘311’, is 85 percent complete and can fit several thousand centrifuges, Iranian military personnel secretly began constructing the site, deep inside mountains between the cities of Abyek and Qazvin, in 2005.
Iranian opposition official Soona Samsami named Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defence Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi as top officials involved in the secret project.
Soona Samsami added that “So far the regime has spent 100 million dollars on the project and the International Atomic Energy Agency had deliberately been kept uninformed of the site by the Iranian authorities”.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, added: “The site has a tunnel as the main entrance, 8 meters wide and nearly 200 meters long. It leads deep inside the ground to three large halls, 16-20 meters wide and 200 meters long. The site also has an exit shaft and a vertical shaft. There are halls and office space inside the tunnels”. The site includes facilities to install centrifuges and workshops for nuclear work.
AFP reported that “Alireza Jafarzadeh, presented satellite photographs of the suspect site, near Qazvin, to reporters in Washington. His group called it the Behjatabad-Abyek site, named for nearby towns. “This is certainly part of the secret weapons program,” . AFP added that he and Soona Samsami, who played a role in revealing a secret site in Tehran where inspectors later discovered Iran was secretly manufacturing centrifuges, alleged that some of the same companies involved in building the Qum facility were involved in this project. But Mr. Jafarzadeh said he could not identify the sources of his information inside the country for fear of jeopardizing their safety.
Centrifuges spin at supersonic speed to enrich uranium. Highly-enriched uranium is the main component of a nuclear bomb.
The revelation comes as an embarrassment to Tehran which on Tuesday ticked the UN atomic watchdog for a report critical of its lack of cooperation with international inspectors.
AFP also reported that “Iran has declared that it plans to build 10 new enrichment sites, far more production capacity than it would need for its nascent nuclear power projects. Under the rules of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran would be required to reveal those construction plans well in advance; the Iranians say they no longer subscribe to that provision of the agency’s rules. The agency could demand access to the new facility, but it is unclear if the Iranians would permit such an inspection. ”
The Iranian Resistance was the first to blow the whistle on the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy-water plant in 2002 and subsequently made a string of stunning revelations on other nuclear sites in Iran, triggering the inspection of Iranian nuclear sites by the IAEA and leading to four sets of sanctions resolutions by the UN Security Council.