Iran Nuclear NewsOpposition group says Iran has budget for nuclear warheads

Opposition group says Iran has budget for nuclear warheads

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AFP: The main Iranian opposition group charged here Thursday that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had allocated 2.5 billion dollars to acquire three nuclear warheads. Khamenei decided in mid-2004 that Tehran would “acquire the warheads by their own means or buy them abroad,” said Mohammed Mohaddessin, an official in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). AFP

PARIS – The main Iranian opposition group charged here Thursday that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had allocated 2.5 billion dollars to acquire three nuclear warheads.

Khamenei decided in mid-2004 that Tehran would “acquire the warheads by their own means or buy them abroad,” said Mohammed Mohaddessin, an official in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Mohaddessin, the NCRI’s foreign affairs committee chairman, told a Paris press conference that the warheads were to be used to equip locally-produced missiles.

He did not identify his sources.

The NCRI representative said he could not say which country could have eventually provided Iran with the warheads, and he did not provide a date for the implementation of Khamenei’s alleged secret plan.

But he said Iran wanted to acquire nuclear weapons “this year”, a claim the NCRI has made several times in the past.

Tehran is in negotiations with Britain, France and Germany, which want the Islamic republic to provide “objective guarantees” that its nuclear program will not be used to develop weapons.

Iran says it only wants to enrich uranium to make nuclear fuel to generate electricity, but there are widespread fears that the technology could be diverted to produce highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.

Based in a northern Paris suburb, the NCRI is the political face of the People’s Mujahedeen, which is considered a terrorist group in both the United States and the European Union.

The NCRI vehemently contests the label, which it says was imposed by governments seeking to curry favor with Tehran.

In recent months the NCRI has produced evidence purporting to show that the Islamic republic is well advanced in its production of enriched uranium fuel and in the development of a missile capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

In early February, the NCRI said Iran had obtained the materials and expertise to make the triggers for an atomic bomb.

On Thursday, Mohaddessin also showed reporters photocopies of what he called a “confidential report” of an Iranian parliamentary committee tasked with oversight of nuclear affairs, dating from February 2004.

The report allegedly says that the Iranian parliament was “unaware of Iranian military projects” and that the budget for such projects “does not appear in the country’s general budget”.

The NCRI official also claimed that Tehran was ready to produce “between now and 2006-07, 10 kilos (22 pounds) of plutonium” for its supposed nuclear arsenal.

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