Iran still seeking nuclear arms, opposition group says

Dissidents claim nuclear facilities moved to conceal location; Rouhani says P5+1, Iran agree on principles for final deal, but gaps remain over the details

Illustrative: IAEA inspectors at Iran's nuclear power plant in Natanz on January 20, 2014. (IRNA/AFP Kazem Ghane/File)
Illustrative: IAEA inspectors at Iran's nuclear power plant in Natanz on January 20, 2014. (IRNA/AFP Kazem Ghane/File)

VIENNA — Iranian dissidents said that Tehran is still researching nuclear arms at facilities it relocated to escape detection.

The Mujahedin-e Khalk, or MEK, cited Iranian government sources it did not identify. It said Wednesday that Iran’s Organization of Defensive Information and Research, or SPND, moved its most sensitive weapons research to a new Tehran location “in recent months.”

It said Mohsem Fakhrizadeh, whom it described as a Revolutionary Guard brigadier general, leads the SPND.

Some — but not all — of the MEK’s previous information has been confirmed by Western governments and the UN nuclear agency probing Tehran’s atomic activities.

In announcing sanctions on SPND in August, the US government described it as “primarily responsible for research in the field of nuclear weapons.”

Iran denies working or seeking such arms.

The claim came as the clock ticked down on Iran and negotiators from six Western powers to reach a long-term nuclear deal by a late November deadline.

Iran’s president said Wednesday Tehran and world powers agree on the principles of a final deal on the Iranian nuclear program but that differences remain on the “details” that still need to be negotiated.

Hassan Rouhani said Iran and the six-nation group — the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — have come a long way in sorting out major issues but that they still differ over issues such as “quantity.”

Rouhani did not elaborate. He spoke with lawmakers on Tuesday night, according to the Iranian state television.

The two sides face a November 24 deadline to reach a comprehensive deal. The nuclear talks reportedly remain stuck over the size and output of Iran uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed