Tags: iran | nukes

Iran Defiantly Continues Nuclear Work

Friday, 22 Feb 2008 08:32 AM

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Iran continues to do conduct secret work on nuclear weapons despite a contrary finding by the U.S. intelligence community in December, an Iranian opposition group revealed this week.

The report stated that Iran halted nuclear weapons work in 2003.

According to the opposition group, Iran is working jointly with North Korean specialists at a military research compound near Khojir, to the southeast of Tehran.

The group previously had identified the site as a missile development plant, but said that a new wing of the plant had recently been built for nuclear weapons work — and it is heavily guarded.

In presenting a commercial satellite photograph of the site to the media in Brussels this week, Mohammad Mohaddessin and Alireza Jafarzadeh said they had passed on their information to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, which is responsible for verifying that Iran is complying with its obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

Their organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), “has presented some credible information to the IAEA in the past,” a Western diplomat at the IAEA in Vienna told Newsmax.

“But some of their claims have not been able to be verified,” he added.

Jafarzadeh, who has been a Foxnews consultant, no longer identifies himself as the MEK’s official representative in the United States, since the group still appears on the State Department’s list of international terrorist organizations.

One week before Jafarzadeh presented this latest information in Brussels, he gave a press conference in Paris under the auspices of the Iran Policy Council, which claims to be registered as a non-profit educational organization in Washington, D.C.

While the veracity of the MEK’s latest claims remains unproven, senior U.S. government officials have openly called into question the December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that concluded that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program.

In congressional testimony last week, Director of National Intelligence Adm. Mike McConnell appeared to walk back that conclusion, stating that he would have written the NIE differently if he had been given more time.

The IAEA secretary general, Mohamed ElBaradei, is expected to deliver his quarterly report on Iran’s non-compliance with IAEA requirements next week.

ElBaradei has frequently defended Iran and downplayed allegations that they continue to conduct secret nuclear weapons work.

However, a senior Western diplomat told Newsmax that most insiders believe that ElBaradei will grudgingly report that Iran continues to conduct work on advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges instead of disclosing its past weapons-related work, as required by the IAEA.

The United Nations Security Council has passed three consecutive resolutions demanding that Iran disclose all nuclear weapons-related work, without a shred of compliance by Iran.

In a recent speech to the Egyptian Council on Foreign Relations in Cairo, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Gregory L. Schulte, emphasized that the United States has “new evidence and are more confident than ever that Iran until 2003 had work underway on nuclear weapons design, weaponization, and covert uranium conversion and enrichment.”

Iran’s nuclear programs were “no hobby or academic pursuit,” he said. “This was a concerted, covert program, conducted by military entities, under the direction of Iran’s senior leaders.”

Furthermore, Schulte said, “The U.S. Intelligence Community judges that Iran is deliberately keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons — and that its ongoing enrichment program, now in violation of Security Council resolutions, is part of maintaining that option.”

Schulte accused Iran of “slippery deadlines” and warned that the IAEA board of governors would careful judge Iran’s compliance with IAEA requirements against “a simple litmus test: Have Iran’s leader’s fully disclosed their past weapons activities, and are they allowing IAEA inspectors to verify they are halted?”

The latest allegations by the MEK, if confirmed by the IAEA, would demonstrate that Iran continues to cheat on its commitments and to continue clandestine nuclear weapons work in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

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