PARIS: An exiled opposition group said yesterday it had obtained information about a secret underground nuclear site under construction in Iran, without specifying what kind of atomic activity it believed would be carried out there.
The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. But analysts say it has a mixed track record and a clear political agenda.
In 2010, when the group said it had evidence of another new nuclear facility, west of the capital Tehran, US officials said they had known about the site for years and had no reason to believe it was nuclear.
The latest allegation comes less than a month after the election of a relative moderate, Hassan Rouhani, as Iran’s new president raised hopes for a resolution of the nuclear dispute with the West, and might be timed to discredit such optimism.
The Islamic Republic says its nuclear energy program is entirely peaceful and rejects US and Israeli accusations that it is really seeking the capability to make nuclear weapons.
But its refusal to curb sensitive nuclear activity, and its lack of full openness with the UN nuclear watchdog agency, have drawn tough Western sanctions and a threat of pre-emptive military strikes by Israel.
The NCRI said members of its affiliated People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI) inside the country had “obtained reliable information on a new and completely secret site designated for (Iran’s) nuclear project.”