Iran Nuclear NewsExiled dissident says Iran hiding nuclear materials in tunnels

Exiled dissident says Iran hiding nuclear materials in tunnels

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AP: An Iranian exile who opposes the Islamic regime said Friday Iran’s military is creating secret tunnels designed to conceal materials for a nuclear weapons program. Associated Press

By GEORGE GEDDA

WASHINGTON – An Iranian exile who opposes the Islamic regime said Friday Iran’s military is creating secret tunnels designed to conceal materials for a nuclear weapons program.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, who helped expose key nuclear facilities in Iran in the past, told a news conference that some of the tunnels house secret “military-nuclear factories” while others are used for storage.

He said his information was based on sources inside the country who have proved to be accurate in the past. One example was the disclosure in 2002 of a secret nuclear facility in Natanz.

Jafarzadeh’s presentation included detailed maps depicting measurements and other features of the tunnels.

Iranian officials decided to construct tunnels because leaks about the country’s nuclear activities underscored the need for more secure facilities, he said.

Jafarzadeh’s information could not be independently confirmed. U.S. officials offered no immediate comment.

He acknowledged that his information does not constitute proof of the existence of the tunnels. But he said it is the duty of the International Atomic Energy Agency to put questions to the Iranians about the findings.

He called on the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to insist on “”immediate access” to the sites so that “Iran doesn’t have time to change things.”

The IAEA board will take up the Iran issue on Monday at a long-scheduled meeting at its Vienna headquarters. The United States is seeking support from board members to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

The United States says Iran is in violation of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty because of what its says is a long history of secrecy about nuclear activities in violation of NPT rules.

Iran insists that its energy program is for generating electricity and says it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is expected to discuss the issue on Saturday when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

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