Iran Has a Secret Nuke Plant
from Danger Room by Noah Shachtman
Iran has been building a clandestine, underground nuclear enrichment facility, the Tehran regime has admitted. President Obama said the plant, and the larger Iranian nuclear program, was “threatening the stability and the security of the region and of the world.”
The plant — built inside a mountain near the ancient holy city of Qum, 100 miles southwest of Tehran — is not yet complete. Nor has any nuclear material has been introduced into the “pilot” facility, according to International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Marc Vidricaire. In a letter to the IAEA, Tehran “said the plant would not enrich uranium beyond the 5 percent level suitable for civilian energy production. That would be substantially below the threshold of 90 percent or more needed for a weapon,” the Associated Press reports.
The plant, however, would be in violation of international nuclear-control agreements, and the latest example of Iran’s attempts to hide parts of their atomic program from the world.
“As the international community knows, this is not the first time Iran has concealed information about its nuclear program. Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power that meets the energy needs of its people. But the size and the configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program. Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow,” President Obama just said at a meeting of the G20 in Pittsburgh.
“The level of deception by the Iranian government and the scale of what we believe is the breach of international commitments will shock and anger the whole international community. And it will harden our resolve,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown added. “Confronted by the serial deception of many years the international community has no choice today but to draw a line in the sand… We are prepared to offer further and more stringent sanctions.”
The Iranians “have cheated three times,” one senior administration official told the New York Times last night. “And they have now been caught three times.”
The official was referring to the revelations by an Iranian dissident group that led to the discovery of the underground plant at Natanz in 2002, and the evidence developed two years ago — after Iran’s computer networks were pierced by American intelligence agencies — that the country had secretly sought to design a nuclear warhead.
[Photo: via NYT]