CNN: An Iranian opposition group says it has disclosed the location of what it says is a newly discovered nuclear weapons research facility in Tehran. The allegation was made three
days after Iran agreed with European nations to suspend its uranium enrichment program, a move that could improve the Islamic republic's relations with the West.
CNN

From CNN's National Security Correspondent David Ensor

WASHINGTON - An Iranian opposition group says it has disclosed the location of what it says is a newly discovered nuclear weapons research facility in Tehran.

The allegation was made three days after Iran agreed with European nations to suspend its uranium enrichment program, a move that could improve the Islamic republic's relations with the West.

While Iran says its uranium enrichment activities are intended to produce fuel only for nuclear power plants, the United States contends the program is aimed at building nuclear weapons. (Full story)

Sources in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) told CNN there was a weapons site in the Lavizan district of the capital that was under the control of the Ministry of Defense.

The group said the Iranian regime moved various nuclear equipment to the new site after its previous facility in the Bagh Sian area in Lavizan was publicized and subsequently visited by the IAEA.

NCRI sent satellite photos to CNN that were apparently taken before and after the nuclear equipment was removed from the Bagh Sian facility, dated August 11, 2003 and March 22, 2004.

NCRI, also known as the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, has been put on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations because it is accused of violence against civilians in Iran, a charge NCRI leaders reject.

CNN's Matthew Chance said the group had made similar allegations in recent years and its information had been found to be "somewhat patchy." The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday it was aware of the report and was investigating.

It already had a team in the region, diplomats in Vienna said, based on beliefs that Iran may be working on developing nuclear enrichment.

The diplomats said there have been fears for the past year that Iran could develop such technology, which is why Germany, France and Great Britain were negotiating with the Iranians on a permanent suspension.

'Spent scenario'
Iran's top nuclear negotiator told CNN's Kasra Naji the latest report about the weapons site was false and politically motivated.

"This allegation is timed to coincide with the next meeting of the board of governors of the IAEA," Hussein Moussavian said.

"And every time just before the meeting there are these kind of allegations either from the United States or terrorist groups. And every time these allegations have proven to be false."

NCRI, also known as the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, has been put on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations because it is accused of violence against civilians in Iran, a charge NCRI leaders reject.

Moussavian called the allegations "a spent scenario."

"Categorically, Iran has no undeclared nuclear-related activity or facility," he said.

NCRI says the new location -- called the "Modern Defensive Readiness and Technology Center" -- is a 60-acre area opposite the Nobonyad Area, Mozhdeh Street, Lavizan District, Tehran.

"Despite its claims of cooperation with the IAEA, the Iranian regime is continuing its nuclear weapons program in defiance of its international obligations," said Ali Safavi, an business consultant in Washington, with ties to the NCRI.

"It also reveals, for the first time, some information on the extent of the involvement of Iran's Ministry of Defense in nuclear weapons research and development."

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami called the nuclear deal reached at the weekend a "great victory" but said Tehran would not respect its commitment if Europeans failed to back his country at an IAEA meeting next week.

"Europeans, under the agreement, have recognized that Iran can exercise its rights (in seeking nuclear technology). This is a great victory," Khatami was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.