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Exile says Iran set to carry out massive nuclear works at Natanz

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Jan. 11 – An Iranian exile who in the past has revealed critical aspects of Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program said on Tuesday that Iran had built 5,000 centrifuges to be installed at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jan. 11 – An Iranian exile who in the past has revealed critical aspects of Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program said on Tuesday that Iran had built 5,000 centrifuges to be installed at its uranium enrichment plant in Natanz.

Speaking to reporters in the National Press Club building in Washington, DC, Alireza Jafarzadeh, who was U.S. spokesman for the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran until its offices were closed in August 2003, said that Tehran was “rapidly executing plans to jumpstart the uranium enrichment process at the Natanz site under the guise of research activity”

Jafarzadeh, who now head Strategic Policy Consulting, accused Tehran of secretly assembling some 5,000 centrifuge machines for installation at the Natanz site. He said Iran had prepared platforms and foundations in large underground cascade halls for such installations.

In the latest breach of its nuclear agreement signed with the European trio – Britain, France, and Germany – in Paris in November 2004, Iran resumed nuclear research and development at Natanz.

Paul Leventhal, President of the independent Nuclear Control Institute, told reporters at the same conference, “IAEA inspectors now standing by at the Natanz site should demand immediate access to the areas where secret activities allegedly are taking place”.

Leventhal, who was a senior nuclear policy consultant to the U.S. government, said, “If inspectors are blocked by Iranian authorities, IAEA procedures provide for admittance with 24-hours notice – or as little as two-hours notice, if circumstances warrant-upon approval by IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. If his request were rejected by the Iranian regime, the matter would go to an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, which could authorise a Special Inspection”.

Raymond Tanter, a prominent Iran expert and former staff member of the National Security Council, said at the conference, “Given failing diplomacy and apparently infeasible military action, regime change in Tehran may be the only way to address the Iranian threat without going to war”.

Tanter, who co-chairs the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee, suggested that the U.S. had to remove the main Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq from the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organisation’s list, arguing that such a move would begin a process of “regime change” in Iran.

“Dissidents of today can hardly become leaders of a democratic Iran of tomorrow if the United States Government considers the main Iranian opposition as terrorists”, he said.

The Iran Policy Committee consists of former officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence agencies, the Congress, as well as experts from think tanks and universities.

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