Iran Hides Two Big Nuclear Facilities – Subcontracts for North Korea

On October 25, 2002,DEBKA-Net-Weeklyreported in its No. 82 issue the suspicion in Washington that one of the two bombs allegedly hidden in Kim Jong II’s war chest was not North Korean at all, but Iranian. Our sources revealed that the Iranian bomb was delivered to North Korea in the third week of September under a secret agreement Kim-Jung Nan, the North Korean president’s overseer of his country’s military and nuclear relations, concluded in Tehran on July 24. (To subcribe to DNW, click HERE).
Last week,DEBKA-Net-Weekly received fresh and surprising information on how this deal is being implemented. The information came from intelligence sources who checked out a detailed report on Iran’s clandestine nuclear program brought to Washington in early August by an Iranian exile in flight from the hard-line regime. That report found no willing listeners in the US government, which was busy at the time with its bid to rope Iran into the war against Iraq.
On August 14, the exile called a select news conference and presented his report again. He still failed to attract serious official attention – until the North Koreans admitted to a secret nuclear program. Then, the powers that be in Washington began connecting nuclear dots. Intelligence agencies went to work and established that the Iranian exile’s report, gathering dust for three months, was spot on target, accurate in every detail.
That report reveals that the two bombs smuggled to North Korea from Iran last September were the property of North Korea. However, they were manufactured and assembled in Iran under the secret Tehran-Pyongyang contract of last July.
This means that North Korea secretly transferred its nuclear manufacturing facilities to the Islamic Republic. Specifically, North Korean plant for the production of all the essential components of the North Korean bombs, including equipment for uranium enrichment, was shifted lock, stock and barrel to Iran, where production has been taking place at two secret sites, both supervised by the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization. This state body is controlled by the National Security Council that defers only to Iran’s radical spiritual leader Ali Khamenei.
The most important site, where nuclear fuel (enriched uranium) is produced, is located at Natanz, 100 miles north of Isfahan on the old Natanz-Kashan highway. A huge facility, big enough to employ hundreds of workers, it is buried many feet underground and set in layers of concrete. The director of this site is an IAEO official called Dawood Agha-Jani.
The second site, producing heavy water, is at Arak in a place called Qatran Workshop close to the Qara-Chai River, three miles from Khondab in northern Azerbaijan. A second IAEO official, Daryoush Sheibani, heads this project.
Unfinished structures were left at both locations to support official claims that building is uncompleted and the sites still inactive
The Iranian exile’s report, as relayed toDEBKA-Net-Weekly, stressed that Iranian nuclear scientists and technicians were actively employed in every stage of production, their participation in the project in its entirety the essence of the secret Iranian-North Korean nuclear cooperation pact.
Intelligence experts are still pondering the following missing information:
— After the two bombs were completed, did North Korea leave its nuclear equipment and manufacturing facilities behind in Iran?
Our sources suggest it did – which means Iran is now equipped to manufacture bombs unaided, whether by Russia or anyone else – depending, of course, on the Iranian scientists having acquired the necessary proficiency to work independently.
— How much uranium was enriched? And what proportion, if any, stayed in Iran?
The presumption is that Iran was left with enough to make between 8-12 bombs.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Washington sources add that the Bush administration is considering placing this information before Russian president Vladimir Putin as leverage to persuade him to come aboard, should the US decide on military action against Iran, during or after the Iraq campaign.
After all, it would now appear that the Iranians used the Russian-assisted Bushehr project as a cover-up for their secret deal with North Korea, camouflage to obscure their progress towards a nuke of their own.

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