National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
September 9, 2010
Today, according to information obtained by Iran ‘s main opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), we would like to make public for the first time exclusive details on a major top-secret and strategic nuclear enrichment site in the town of Abyek, 120 kilometers west of the Iranian capital, Tehran . The Behjatabad-Abyek nuclear enrichment site is code-named 311, and is near Qazvin.
The details on this site were made possible by the several-year of extensive and vigilant investigation, research and intelligence work by the internal network of the PMOI. The work, as complicated as it has been entailed serious risks and danger for the sources.
The construction of this site began in early (February or March) 2005 and 85 percent of the construction work on it has been completed. The site is built deep inside mountains to withstand aerial bombings and confirms that the regime is in hot pursuit of nuclear weapons and will in no way abandon it.
The Armed Forces General Headquarters, headed by Major General Hassan Firouz-Abadi, and the Ministry of Defense, headed by Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, have embarked on building this new secret site, located between the cities of Abyek and Qazvin . The project began under the former Minister of Defense who is currently Minister of the Interior, Mostafa Mohammad Najjar.
The date when work began on this site is significant because it proves that contrary to its deceptive tactics, implying that the regime had stopped its military nuclear activities in 2003, this type of work has gone underground and expanded.
So far the regime has spent 100 million dollars on the project, but experts involved in the projects have said that it has unlimited budget. For example, one of the companies affiliated with the MoD, which is tasked with building some of the facilities in the site has received 25 million dollars in the past three years alone.
The extensive dimensions of the site show that the regime’s nuclear weapons program is far larger than what the International Atomic Energy Agency knows about. Specifically, the enrichment program is much more extensive than what has been revealed to the IAEA, which explains why the Iranian regime is refusing to ratify the Additional Protocol.
This site is far more important than the Fardow site near the holy city of Qom, which explains why the MoD has taken extraordinary concealment measure to avoid its detection.
The Fardow plant, as is widely reported, was first unveiled by the PMOI in a press conference on December 20, 2005 in Paris . Later, in a press conference on 25 September 2009, President Obama confirmed the existence of that site.
According to a confidential directive issued by the Armed Forces’ General Headquarters and the Ministry of Defense to all engineers and technicians as well as others involved in the planning and building of this site, the disclosure of the site will irreparably undermine the regime’s international standing and would have unimaginable repercussions.
All persons involved in this project as under the tight control of the MoD’s counterintelligence department. MoD agencies and highest ranking commanders of the Ministry are monitoring and controlling the building of this site.
- General Information:The top-secret site is code named 311 used by MoD and IRGC agencies working on it.
- To keep the site secret from local inhabitants, the site is named Javad-nia 2. Javad-nia is a MoD training garrison about two miles south of the current site. The name Javadnia-2 is meant to mislead the locals. (Map of Javad-nia Garrison is visible on the satellite imagery).
- This site is a new part of the Command center and nuclear weapons manufacture of the Iranian regime, namely Mojdeh site. It is under the supervision of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh Mahabadi, who is the director of Mojdeh.
- Although the construction of this site is not yet complete, similar to Fardow in Qom, currently, nuclear experts from Mojdeh nuclear site have been stationed at this site to realize the intended nuclear objectives.
- Exact location of the site:
- The precise location of this top-secret site is 20 kms from the city of Abyek, on the land between the villages of Behjatabad and Todaran. This region is located along a mountainous area east of the central section of the town of Abyek . (The center for this region is Nasser-Abad village).
- To build this site, the Ministry of Defense has possessed the ownership of 3,000 hectares (30 Sq. Km) of land in this region as well as the Behjatabad to Taleqan highway.
- To get to the site, one has to drive on Tehran-Qazvin expressway. At Km 15, past the city of Abyek, there is an exit for Behjat-Abad village. After passing through the village, for about 7 km, one reaches the fence around the perimeter of the site.
- The nuclear site is built within a 30 Sqr. Km fenced area inside a mountain. (As you can see by comparing the 2004 and 2010 imagery, the shape of the earth has completely changed here).
- Anti-Aircraft batteries will be stationed around the area to protect it from air strikes. The MoD has already requested the construction of the base for the batteries and work is well on the way.
- South-East of this region, a training base, Javad-nia 1, is located adjacent to the village of Jazmeh . Javad-nia 1 is used to provide the logistical support for the initial phase of constructing the new site, including electricity and other requirements. The use of electricity in this region has risen dramatically since last year, which demonstrates increased activity inside the site.
- West of this site, the Ansar Al-Mehdi base, belonging to the Ministry of Defense, is located near the village of Vandar . The facilities, which belong to the “Ya Mahdi” missile industry, can be indentified on satellite imagery.
- Details on inside of the site: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.
- As such, the mountain which sits on top of the tunnel has a height of 100 meters. According to assessment of nuclear experts, the suitable height to prevent radioactive material emission is 80 meters. The thickness of dirt on top of the tunnel also neutralizes any possible impact of aerial bombardment on the facilities inside the tunnels.
- The site has four entrances and exits in total. Two main entrances in the main warehouse which is used for entry. One is for entering and the other for exiting. In addition, there is one individual exit and one emergency escape exit through the vertical shaft.
- The facilities inside the site are set up to installing centrifuges and building workshops for nuclear work.
- At the present, the work on building the tunnels has been completed and the electrical, water and ventilation systems are being put in place.
- Nuclear safety systems as well as radiation detecting devices have also been installed inside both complexes and experts are monitoring the work progress and its quality.
- Agencies involved in the construction of the sites:
- The Armed Forces’ General Headquarters has set up an extensive organization to construct underground secret site. The head of this organization is Brig. Gen. Jalali, Deputy Commander of the Passive Defense forces for the Armed Forces. Brig. Gen. Tabatabi, his deputy, oversees the day-to-day operations. Brig. Gen. Jalali is Deputy to Major General Hassan Firouz-Abadi, the Commander of the Armed Forces’ General Headquarters.
- The AFGH has tasked the MoD and the IRGC’s engineering directorates with constructing secret tunnels. The Aero-space Engineering Directorate headed by Brig. Gen. Nasrollahi-Zadeh is the executive director of the project in Abyek. The official directly responsible to implement the plan is Brig. Gen. Abolqassem Amiri, who is Nasrollahi-Zadeh’s deputy.
- The AFGH and the MoD have set up a series of companies to construct the tunnels. “Pars Garma [Heat] Company is a MoD subsidiary and responsible for excavating and drilling the tunnels and constructing the underground centers. The company has set up a workshop in Abyek region to advance the work on the project.
- In addition to Pars Garma, Shams Omran Company, which is another MoD front company, is working on the building of the underground facilities in the site. Hamidreza Moniri Abyaneh is the head of this company. The company has transferred many of the experts and technicians who worked on Qom ’s Fardow site to this site to use their expertise. This company was also involved in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear reactor.
- In early 2005, the Ministry of Defense began building this site, but the work has proceeded slowly. One reason was the geology of the land, which made the drill of the tunnels very difficult. The ground in this area is hard and includes volcano-type rocky area. Another reason has been the extreme security measure adopted to avoid detection.
- Security measures:
- All commute to the site is controlled by the Armed Forces Counter-Intelligence Department in Tehran . Even MoD officers are not allowed to enter the site.
- All maps, blueprints and plans for the site have been removed from the computers of the engineers who were involved in drafting the plans and building the site. The Counter-Intelligence Department has them stored in its top-secret archives.
- Due to the sensitivity of the project, all those involved in the work on this project are kept uninformed as to which MoD agency will be using this site.
- Environmental impact:
- The constant use of the Behjatabad village road by heavy 50-ton trucks has destroyed the pavement and has angered the local people.
- Large areas of land that belong to the villagers have also been confiscated by the MoD, which has aroused opposition from the population. The MoD has also seized parcels of land around Todaran village which originally belonged to the Agency for Environmental Protection. (The area has a very small population).
- Because of the drilling inside the mountain, the rocks that are turned into powder enter the springs in the area, which contaminate the water, turning it into a milky-like thick liquid that has damaged all the gardens in Tazeh Abad and Jazmeh villages. Because of its cement-like quality, all trees have been affected by it. (Two rivers adjacent to the two villages can be seen in the satellite imagery).
- Todaran villagers have been contemplating taking legal action, which the MoD’s legal department is trying to avert.
The recent sanctions by the United Nations Security Council and the complementary sanctions by the United States, the European Union, Japan and other countries are necessary and have pressured the regime. But their impact is far slower than the pace of the progress of the regime’s nuclear weapons projects.
To effectively thwart Tehran ’s nuclear drive, a two-pronged policy is imperative. The first is to impose comprehensive sanctions on the regime. The second is removing the barriers placed on the path of the opposition, particularly the main opposition, the PMOI. The terrorist label against the group has acted as a major impediment to democratic change in Iran .
It has also hindered its ability to discover and transfer information on the regime’s hidden nuclear activities. If President Obama and the US government are serious in their effort to stop Tehran ’s nuclear weapons program, they should not have tied the PMOI’s hands. They are fully aware that a vast majority of the information on Iran ’s nuclear program was revealed by the PMOI and the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Were it not for the PMOI, the mullahs would have had the bomb by now.
Soona Samsami was US Representative of National Council of Resistance of Iran until August 2003; She first exposed the Kala Electric nuclear site near Tehran in February 2003.
Alireza Jafarzadeh, author of The Iran Threat, was media spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran in the United States until August 2003. Jafarzadeh exposed the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz and heavy water facility in Arak in August 2002 which triggered the IAEA inspection of Iranian sites since 2003.