Bloomberg: Iran’s government is developing detonators capable of setting off a nuclear bomb, an Iranian resistance group said. By Gregory Viscusi
Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) — Iran’s government is developing detonators capable of setting off a nuclear bomb, an Iranian resistance group said.
The detonators, which use conventional explosives and are designed to ignite the uranium payload of a nuclear weapon, are being developed as prototypes at a secret site called Metfaz in a military zone about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Tehran, the National Council of Resistance of Iran said today. The research center for the project is in Pars in eastern Tehran.
“To build a bomb they need both to complete this system, and they are not far, and have enough highly enriched uranium,” said Mehdi Abrishamchi, a member of the council, at a Paris press conference. The uranium that Iran has managed to enrich so far is too weak for a weapon, he said. Iran may be six months away from producing adequately enriched uranium, he said.
The detonators require higher pressure and are operational at higher temperatures than normal units, the resistance leader said. The group first mentioned Iran’s detonator development program in January 2005.
The activities at Metfaz were originally being carried out at Shiane, a site that was abandoned after it was revealed by the National Council in 2003, Abrishamchi said. The council disclosed the cleric-dominated country’s uranium-enrichment program in 2002.
Iran continues to enrich uranium in violation of United Nations sanctions, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report last month. The UN agency also said it can’t rule out a possible military purpose to Iran’s nuclear efforts.
The country is under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to suspend enrichment. President Barack Obama yesterday told the UN’s General Assembly that Iran faces new penalties if it doesn’t halt its nuclear program.
Iran denies its nuclear work is aimed at producing weapons. The country’s top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, will meet Oct. 1 in Geneva with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
The U.S. regards the People’s Mujahedeen, the main component in the National Council, as a terrorist group. The European Union took them off its list of terrorist organizations in January after the group won a series of court cases.