NewsSpecial WireVerbatim: Iranian opposition reveals ‘secret nuclear site’ in Tehran

Verbatim: Iranian opposition reveals ‘secret nuclear site’ in Tehran

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Iran Focus: Paris, Nov. 19 – Iran Focus has obtained the text of a press conference by senior representatives of the leading Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which took place in Paris on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, on Wednesday revealed the presence of a new secret nuclear site in Northeast Tehran. Iran Focus

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Paris, Nov. 19 – Iran Focus has obtained the text of a press conference by senior representatives of the leading Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which took place in Paris on Wednesday, Nov. 17.
Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, on Wednesday revealed the presence of a new secret nuclear site in Northeast Tehran. He accused the Iranian government of having transferred its nuclear projects from the Lavizan-Shian facility to a military site called ‘The Center for Development of Advanced Defense Technology (CDADT)’. Iran Focus has also managed to obtain a number of aerial pictures shown at the conference.

The full text of the conference follows:

Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program:
Secret Uranium Enrichment Site Shows Continuing Pattern of Concealment and Deceit – 17 November 2004

Today we are revealing another top-secret nuclear site in Iran, run by the Ministry of Defense as part of the Iranian regime’s clandestine nuclear weapons project. The existence of this site and the sensitive nature of the work being conducted there have been kept completely secret from the International Atomic Energy Agency and its inspectors. Despite the official pledges and promises of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including in the latest deal concluded with the EU-3, uranium enrichment activities are going on at full speed in different secret locations across Iran. The clerical leadership in Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons next year and the only elements that stand between this intent and the first nuclear bomb are time and engineering.

Nuclear weapons in the mullahs’ military doctrine
1. Since the year 2000, Iran’s military planners and strategists have been working on a new concept for the theocratic state’s military doctrine to take into account the new realities in the region and on the world stage. The work has been expanded and updated since the post-9/11 events, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
2. The new doctrine proposes that the key to the survival of the current Islamic fundamentalist state in Iran, in view of the recent global and regional trends and the growing domestic crises, is for the Islamic Republic to adopt a more aggressive posture in exporting Islamic revolution and expanding Iran’s influence in the Muslim world, while at the same time developing a viable military strategy in case of an eventual military showdown with the U.S. and its allies.
3. Working on the assumption that a conventional military confrontation with the U.S. is completely disadvantageous for Iran, the mullahs’ military strategists have developed a strategy that tries to capitalize on the perceived weaknesses of the U.S. and its allies. This strategy of “asymmetric warfare” has three essential components:
– Mass suicidal operations (“martyrdom-seeking operations) against key U.S./allies targets/interests in the region and other parts of the world
– Development and enhancement of missiles (range and accuracy) and arming Shahab-3 and Shahab-4 with nuclear and chemical warheads
– Acquisition of nuclear weapons

4. The ruling mullahs consider the acquisition of nuclear weapons an indispensable part of their security/military strategy. They see three important benefits from becoming armed with nuclear weapons:
– The survival of the Islamic theocratic state in Iran will be guaranteed;
– The Islamic Republic will become the undisputed regional hegemon and will be in a position to blackmail governments in the region, particularly its southern Arab neighbors;
– The enthusiasm generated by this development among Muslims will facilitate the export of Islamic revolution to other Muslim countries and raise IRI’s standing in the Muslim world (Clerical rulers call the Islamic Republic of Iran Umm-ol-Quraa, “the Mother of All Islamic Lands”)
5. In a secret meeting with top officials in charge of the nuclear program, Khamenei ordered them to mobilize all the powers of the state to speed up the development of nuclear weapons and aim for mid-2005 as a target date for the first bomb.

Iran’s Two-Track Nuclear Program
6. The Iranian regime has organized its nuclear program in two parallel, autonomous systems that ultimately fall under the supervision of Khamenei and a close circle of trusted advisers. These two separate components are the so-called civilian program and the military program.
7. The main agency in the civilian progam is the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), run by Gholamreza Aghazadeh. The AEOI is in charge of the power plants such as the Bushehr light water reactor and the nuclear fuel cycle activities, including the mining site in Saghand, the yellow-cake producing sites in Bandar-Abbas and Ardakan, and the Uranium Converstion Facility in Isfahan. Research institutes and universities working openly on nuclear projects and government agencies that require nuclear technology for non-military purposes (medical and agricultural applications) are liaise with AEOI.
8. The civilian program is not just a cover for the military program, but is complementary to it and also provides it with both technological know-how, a pool of experts and access to the necessary matierials and equipment. For this reason, AEOI itself in under the supervision of the Supreme National Security Council and Aghazadeh reports to Hassan Rohani, the mullah who is the secretary of SNSC and in charge of negotiations both with the IAEA and the EU-3.
9. The military program is controlled by the secretive Supreme Military Committee, made up of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firuzabadi, IRGC Commander in Chief Maj. Gen. Rahim Safavi, and Defense Minister Adm. Ali Shamkhani. All three are from the Revolutionary Guards (none from the regular army).
10. The IRGC and the Defense Ministry in effect run the nuclear weapons program, with the IRGC effectively in control of activities in the relevant departments of the DefMin. The Supreme Military Committee reports directly to Khamenei and has regular meetings with him.
11. The military program is essentially focusing on three key projects: production or procurement of enough quantities of HEU for a nuclear bomb; development of alternative enrichment techniques; work on weaponization technology and means of delivery.
12. An important function of the military program is concealment. A specialized agency within the Defense Ministry, the Special Office for Security, runs the concealment program in close liason with IRGC intelligence and MOIS.
13. While the AEOI runs its own procurement program and an array of front companies, the military program has a far more extensive set-up for procurement, made up of front companies and elaborate transportation routes. The first contact with the Pakistani scientist and nuclear smuggler Abdul-Qadir Khan was made by Defense Ministry agents and he has maintained his ties with them.

Chain of Command
14. All important decisions regarding the nuclear project are taken at joint meetings of the two committees (civilian and military), often attended by Khamenei. No important decision is ever taken without Khamenei’s approval. Regular participants are: Rohani, Firuzabadi, Safavi, Shamkhani, Intelligence Minister Ali Younessi, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Khamenei Adviser Ali-Akbar Velayati, and AEOI chief Aghazadeh. Experts and scientists are invited to attend where necessary.
15. The two-track system gives Iran greater ability to conceal the military program and thwart internaitional inspections. Those involved in the military component are essentially kept away from IAEA inspectors. Scientists and experts in the military program have full, unimpeded access to all know-how and materials in the civilian program, but those in the civilian program are kept completely in the dark as far as the military program is concerned.
16. The downside of this arrangement is that a lot of work has been duplicated, and much energy and capital wasted as a result.

The key role of the Defense Ministry
17. Much of what has been said about Iran’s nuclear activities in public has been the AEOI’s domain; seldom has light been shone on the role of the Ministry of Defense (MD) and the IRGC.
18. Until recently, the nuclear and BW projects in the MD were being conducted in the ministry’s Defense Research Institute (DRI) chaired by Brig. Gen. Dr. Ali Hosseini-Tash.
19. Recently, the Nuclear/BW components have been separated from DRI and Hosseini-Tash is now fully devoted to these projects and has been promoted to Deputy Minister of Defense. He reports directly to Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani. After Hosseini-Tash’s departure, the DRI is now run by Mohammad Eslami.
20. In the organization under Hosseini-Tash, a highly specialized nuclear expert called Mohsen Fakhri-Zadeh is in charge of the nuclear project and Nader Maghsoodi is in charge of the BW project.

Disclosure of a Major Secret Nuclear Site

The Iranian regime has kept a top-secret nuclear site well away from the IAEA and its inspectors. The site in northeast Tehran is run by Mohsen Fakhri-Zadeh, one of the regime’s top nuclear scientists. The site is called The Center for Development of Advanced Defense Technology (CDADT). It is located opposite Nobonyad Street, Mozhdeh Street, Lavizan, north-east Tehran.
1. The above site was previously occupied by the Ordnance Factory Support Center, a subunit of the MD. The support center consisted of three battalions called Beheshti, Troop Transport and Heavy Transport. The battalions were ordered by Defense Minister Shamkhani to evacuate the site a year and a half ago, when the CDADT moved in. The site is located in a 60 acre area and has three entrances in Mozhdeh Street.
a. The first entrance is from Hussein Abad Sq. where Beheshti battalion was stationed. There are construction works at this entrance.
b. The second entrance leads to the CDADT and this is where the troop transport battalion was stationed. Mohsen Fakhri-Zadeh’s office is located here.
c. The third entrance is situated 500 m from the second and this is where the heavy transport battalion was based. There is a sign at the entrance which reads in Farsi: Defense Industries Research Center. This is where Nader Maghsoodi works and BW/CW research is conducted here.
2. The center is a top-secret place protected by many closed-circuit cameras. Visitors are prohibited from entering the place, even those who were working in the same place.
3. Here is an account of the premises in the site:
a. There are many premises and installations in the site including administrative buildings, heavy transport parking area, buses parking area, light vehicles parking area, heavy transport maintenance, gas station and warehouses, all of which have been handed over to the CDADT.
b. There are also several buildings in the previous place of Beheshti battalion and the above center started building new premises in recent months.
4. All the equipment and devices in Shian Site were completely moved to the new site.

Ministry of Defense Secretly Moves Nuclear Equipment

The Defense Ministry had long been using a site secretly in Shian District northeastern of Tehran for its activities until March 2003, when the PMOI and the Iranian Resistance disclosed the information about the above site and announced that it was a center used by the Defense Ministry for technical research and banned activities to achieve weapons of mass destruction. Following the disclosure of the site, the Defense Ministry moved the equipment out of the site and demolished the premises to stop further information of the secret nuclear activities being leaked out.
In March 2004, a series of satellite images taken from Bagh Shian area in Lavizan District were released and it was revealed that the Iranian Ministry of Defense has completely demolished the area and the roads leading to the site in an attempt to eliminate every trace of secret activities.
Subsequently, a team of IAEA inspectors visited Shian site on June 28, 2004. Later, it was stated in Mr. El-Baradei’s report that there were 11 kinds of activities being performed in the site and the Iranian regime was not willing to explain to the IAEA inspectors about the activities and the equipment in the site.
Here is the recent information obtained by the PMOI about the Defense Ministry’s secret activities and the complete demolition of the site:
1. Following the disclosure of the information on Shian site by the PMOI, the Nuclear Committee of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) chaired by Hassan Rowhani had predicted that the IAEA would want to visit the site and would realize the Ministry’s secret nuclear activities there. The committee decided to completely demolish the site.
2. Prior to the demolition, the ministry moved the nuclear facilities to the secret site of the CDADT in the MD Ordnance Factory Support Center.
3. There were two Whole-body Counters in the Shian site which were purchased by the Iranian regime from western countries in the 1990s for peaceful purposes and the Defense Ministry was using them for nuclear research. One of the devices was moved to Malek Ashtar University in Isfahan (a subunit of the Defense Ministry) and the other was moved to a private clinic in Tehran. The purpose of such move was to take the inspectors to the two places and deceive them.
4. In an attempt to explain the demolition of Shian site, Hassan Rowhani on June 27, 2004 said that the piece of land was owned by the municipality and according to a plan a park was going to be built in that place and the Defense Ministry had reached an agreement with the municipality in this respect. But the municipality’s documents regarding the area (of which the PMOI obtained a copy) stated: “Tehran’s municipality’s Precinct No. 3 in District 4 (Lavizan District) realized that there were demolition works and earth-moving operations going on in a military site in the area and because the municipality authorities were not allowed to enter the site, they only reported the event to their superiors.”
It was stated in the municipality’s documents that the municipality had nothing to do with the plot of land in question and that there had been no dispute between the Defense Ministry and the municipality over that property.
To keep the information of the site from leaking out, the MOIS ordered that the municipality’s reports regarding the matter be destroyed and the employees who had prepared the reports be moved elsewhere.
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