Iran denies opposition claim of hidden atomic site

Updated 13 July 2013
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Iran denies opposition claim of hidden atomic site

TEHRAN: Iran yesterday denied claims by an exiled opposition group that it has built a new hidden nuclear site deep beneath a mountain near the town of Damavand in Tehran province.
“This information is false and we reject it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi told the Mehr news agency. On Thursday, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran said it has evidence of a new hidden nuclear site that Iran was constructing secretly.
“The organization of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) has discovered credible evidence of a secret new nuclear site, gathered over a year by 50 sources in various parts of the regime,” said a statement from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the umbrella group of which MEK is a part.
“The codename of the project is ‘Ma’adan-e Sharq’ (literally ‘the mine of the east’) or ‘Project Kossar’. This site is hidden in a series of tunnels under a mountain near the town of Damavand,” it said.
The Paris-based militant group MEK alleges that the site has existed since 2006, with the first series of subterranean tunnels and four external depots recently completed.
The group also claims that president-elect Hassan Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, played a “key role” in the program.
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it “will assess the information that has been provided, as we do with any new information we receive.”
 


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 56 min 16 sec ago
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Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”