Washington DC, June 5 – Iran may be building a new secret facility to enrich uranium that could be used to build nuclear bombs, experts at a top U.S. think-tank say.
The report from the Institute for Science and International Securitycame two weeks before a new round of talks in Moscow between Iran and officials from the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany aimed at getting Tehran to abandon its illegal weapons program. The United Nations Security Council has passed four resolutions demanding that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment, but the Iranians have admitted enriching uranium to 20 percent, perilously close to weapons grade.
The report says Iranian leaders ignore requests to cooperate with the international community and think they do “not have to notify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if it begins construction of a nuclear facility.”
“Iran’s decision to defy the IAEA only increases concern that its intentions are to build nuclear weapons,” the ISIS report said.
On Monday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said “Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation” and urged the leaders in Tehran to take steps “in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
Satellite images indicate demolished buildings and soil removal at Parchin, a top-secret military site that Iran refuses to open to U.N. inspectors looking for evidence of nuclear weapons development. Despite Iranian claims that its nuclear program is peaceful, Western diplomats suspect that Iran is trying to remove any incriminating evidence from the Parchin facility before possibly granting the IAEA access, Reuters reported.
Already under severe economic sanctions for its refusal to comply with repeated U.N. Security Council resolutions, Iran is facing increased sanctions on it central bank and more cuts in its oil exports from July 1 unless it agrees to allow IAEA inspectors to examine its nuclear facilities.