PRESS CONFERENCE ON IRAN'S CLANDESTINE NUCLEAR PROJECTS
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF RESISTANCE OF IRAN
February 20, 2003
The clerical regime is taking advantage of the current crisis in the region, and accelerated its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. The mullahs’ strategy is bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons to change the balance of power in the region in its favor and pave the way for exporting fundamentalism and terrorism.
On February 9, the clerical regime’s President acknowledged the existence of more sites in the nuclear project, including a Uranium extraction center in Saghand, 200 km from the city of Yazd. He also made public facilities which combine uranium components in the cities of Isfahan and Kashan. He said: “If we need nuclear plants, which we have already started, we need a complex fuel cycle, from uranium discovery and extraction to production of uranium oxide and its use in nuclear reactors and the management of the spent fuel. This is a very sensitive and important cycle and this government, following in the footsteps of its predecessor which had already taken steps along this path, has decided to see this through.” Khatami added: "Providing fuel for this process is very important and we must be self-sufficient. These are steps that we have taken.” "Nobody has the right to protest against us. If there is anybody to protest it is us, who have been denied the use of international facilities through rumor-mongering and noise-making and biased methods," Khatami said brazenly.
At the same time, the clerical regime is doing its utmost to stage-manage and engage in deception to conceal its nuclear facilities from the eyes of international inspectors.
New details on the clerical regime’s nuclear program and its concealment efforts
For many years, the Iranian regime has tried to procure nuclear weapons. It has tried, for example, to buy nuclear warheads from foreign countries. In the early 1990s, it bought four nuclear warheads from Kazakhstan. But, when the Iranian Resistance revealed the efforts, the regime was unable to transfer them to Iran. It has also attempted to use foreign experts, including from the former republics of the Soviet Union, to acquire nuclear weapons.
The secret nuclear project began several years ago in Natanz, Arak and Saghand. The Tehran regime was seeking to acquire a nuclear arsenal by the year 2004 or 2005. This project has three main parts:
- Uranium is extracted in Saghand;
- Uranium is enriched in Natanz;
- Heavy water is produced in Arak.
After the Iranian Resistance revealed the information about Arak and Natanz sites in August 2002, the Iranian regime has tried to evade international accountability through deception and concealment. While such efforts may slow down things a bit, the project is, the nevertheless, continuing.
The Natanz Project
The Natanz project was disguised as a desert eradication project. It is 11,000 hectares. At present the blue print has been completed and foundations have been built. But because the site was exposed, they have stopped installing the machinery. In addition, the regime has removed some of the machinery that had already been installed and removed them from the premises.
The Natanz project began three years ago and is scheduled to be completed next year. The person is charge of the Natanz Project is an engineer by the name of Nobari. Before him, an engineer by the name of Aghajani and prior to him another engineer by the name of Madani was in charge of the project until five months ago. (Madani is currently working at the Petro-Pars company).
Next to the main buildings, they have built a smaller building for testing the equipment. It is located in the site in between five warehouses which are simply used for storage. This small site is evident in the satellite photographs, but has been camouflaged as a warehouse.
The machinery in this site has not been dismantled and is preparing centrifuge machines. The mullahs are planning to lock the doors to this site once the inspection is being conducted and claim that it is, similar to the other four next to it, simply a warehouse. While the regime has tried to hide this particular building among the other warehouses and workshops, if it is inspected, it could easily be identified as a testing area by expert. Even the dismantling of its equipment would not prevent the experts from recognizing its real purpose.
Building centrifuge equipment
The centrifuge system is built in the city of Isfahan. The address is: Three km after Peinard T-Junctions, direction Rowshan Dasht, Isfahan’s production and nuclear fuel center is located on the left hand side of the road. The residential complex, Martyr Haj Mirzai is located just before this center and after passing a residential complex that belongs to the regime’s Atomic Energy Organization. A sign says: “The Atomic Energy Organization, the center for production and nuclear fuel of Isfahan.”
Testing for centrifuge systems is taking place at a location called Ab-Ali. The site is under the cover of a company called Kala (commodity) Electric. It has been registered as a watch making factory. But there are two research workshops next to it. The Ab-Ali site has two large warehouses, 450 meters long each which are used as workshops. It has also several administrative buildings. The address in Tehran is: “Km 2.5 Ab-Ali highway, next to Kemi Daroo Company. Kala Electric is located in the alley.
Saghand Uranium mines
The mine is 40 km from Saghand in Yazd in Chador Mello, the mine is on the left hand side of the road with a sign “Saghand Uranium mine.” The site is run by the Iranian regime’s Atomic Energy Organization. The person in charge is Dr. Ghassem Soleimani, who is the director general for mining operatoins. The executive director of the project is an Engineer by the name of Mehdi Kabirzadeh who is based in the Yazd office. The person in charge of day-today affairs at the site of the mine is an engineer by the name of Taravat. Chinese experts are also working at the Saghand mine. Earlier some 50 Chinese experts were working there. Now, however, two Chinese are working there as supervisor and their expertise and experience are being used. The acronym for their names is Mr. Yao and Mr. Ma.
The heavy water project in Arak
At present, the Khandab project in Arak is underway and has not been stopped. After this project was exposed in August 2002 by the NCRI, the regime stopped working on the section that related to increasing its capacity. After some considerations, officials reached the conclusion that the project is in such a stage that they cannot dismantle the machinery and change the facilities. It was thus decided to continue the project and justify it if asked by the AIEA by saying that it addresses the country’s industrial needs. One reason that they were forced to stop increasing its capacity was that after the August revelations, their business counterparts refused to sign new contracts.
The clerical regime has shown that in light of its extremely fragile position inside Iran, unprecedented social disenchantment and the expansion of popular resistance, would not show any scruples in using weapons of mass destruction to stabilize its position. For example, on April 18, 2001, the clerical regime fired 77 surface-to-surface missiles at seven camps of the Iranian Resistance simultaneously. The attack resulted in the death of a large number of innocent civilians. At the time, Khamenei’s advisor Brig. Gen. Ali Larijani said that this was a warning to the region’s small countries not to play with the lion’s tail.
The clerical regime has tested missiles with a range of 2,000 km and is planning to produce missiles with the range of 4,000 to 6,000 km. Silence and inaction vis-à-vis this regime by the international community and the policy of appeasement pursued by a number of Western countries has made it easier for the regime to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
The Iranian Resistance again calls for the UN Security Council’s immediate consideration of the clerical regime weapons of mass destruction program and its terrorism which, in view of the crisis in the region, are increasing.