US Accumulates Evidence of Iran’s Nuclear Violations
debkafile‘s Washington sources reveal that the Americans have turned up increasing indications that Iran is marching forward with its clandestine nuclear programs, which are the subject of the current International Atomic Energy Agency board meeting in Vienna on Monday and Tuesday, June 16 and 17. The board is examining evidence that the Iranians have secretly set up a massive uranium enrichment facility designed to house tens of thousands of centrifuges. This facility could support the production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.
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Washington will insist that the United Nations nuclear watchdog declare Iran to be in breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treat (NPT), which it has signed.
The IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei has already circulated a harsh report to board members, accusing Tehran of failing to give notice of certain nuclear material and activities. Inspection is hampered by Iran’s refusal sign the Additional Protocol which would grant international inspectors wider access and more intrusive, short-notice visits to suspected atomic sites. For example, Iran has denied ElBaradei’s request for inspection access to Kalaye Electric Company where parts for centrifuges are built in violation of the NPT.
Having Iran declared in serious breach of the NPT at the IAEA board meeting in Vienna would open the way for a United States complaint to the UN Security and the tabling of a resolution endorsing tough action against Iran.
Tehran, for its part, is employing dilatory tactics to block this move in order to buy extra time to complete its nuclear weapons program unhindered. Intelligence experts estimate that Iran will have developed a nuclear bomb and delivery-capable missiles by the end of 2004. To fend off mounting US pressure, the spokesman of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to the IAEA took an aggressive tack: First give us access to nuclear technological data for civilian purposes and promise that our signature on the Additional Protocol will not interfere with our nuclear infrastructure development.
Iran’s posture against the US strikes a sympathetic chord in the European Union – with which Tehran is negotiating for a trade deal – raising the prospect of leaving Washington to go it alone in seeking international support for firm global action against Iran as happened in the case of Iraq. The ploy was borrowed from North Korea, who in the 1990s successfully persuaded the Clinton administration to part with the funds and technology for advanced nuclear reactors that later served Pyongyang for developing its nuclear program and its nuclear collaboration with Tehran.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly was the first publication on November 15, 2002 to expose Iran’s secret nuclear plants in Natanz and Arak. Both are supervised by the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, a state body controlled by the National Security Council that defers only to Iran’s radical spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Natanz, where nuclear fuel (enriched uranium) is produced, is located 100 miles north of Isfahan on the old Natanz-Kashan highway. A huge facility, big enough to employed 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 Arak facility produces heavy water at 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 are not active.