MESOP LATEST : Opposition Group Claims Iran Operating Another Nuclear Site: ARAK ! – “CIA” knows about it !

By Zuber Hewrami – RUDAW – 20-11-2013 –  Iran operates three known sensitive nuclear sites: Fardo, Natanz and a heavy water reactor in Arak. Washington, DC – The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, claims its informants have revealed a new secret possible Iranian nuclear site in a sprawling military base in central Iran. “The clerical (Iranian) regime is constructing and completing a series of secret sites,” NCRI member Mehdi Abrishamchi told journalists in Paris. “Site ‘012’ is one of them,” he said, explaining that was the name of the new suspect facility.

“The clerical regime (in Iran) continues its secret and undeclared projects…. It has set up scores of secret and underground facilities,” NCRI member Abrishamchi claimed. NCRI, the umbrella group for several Iranian oppositions groups, said it remained uncertain about the type of alleged nuclear activity happening inside the highly secure area. “The site could be for research or other aspects (of the nuclear program); for example, we don’t have intelligence indicating installed centrifuges exist at the site,” Abrishamchi said.

The dissident group originally revealed Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. However, since then many in the West have expressed skepticism about new claims, especially one in 2010.

In July of this year, the group claimed it had found another secret underground site. However, the US and its allies were unconvinced of the claim. “If the NCRI knows about a nuclear weaponization research and planning center in Iran, you can bet the CIA knows about it too, yet there has been no hint of it in public or leaked assessments,” Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told Reuters in October. The timing of the NCRI report is sensitive and could be politically motivated, especially since negotiations are scheduled to resume in Geneva on Wednesday after an earlier round this month faltered on last-minute changes and France’s objection to the draft text.

Abrishamchi said the information had the new suspect site had been passed on to the French government and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director at the IAEA, told USA Today newspaper that the mentioned military compound is where Iran manufactured some of the most sensitive components of its nuclear centrifuges and conventional rocket casings.  Iran operates three known sensitive nuclear sites: Fardo, Natanz and a heavy water reactor in Arak. These facilities are of concern to a wide segment of the international community, but Iran denies allegations that its nuclear program is geared toward building atom bombs.

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