PARIS, 18 Nov. (IPS) Iran rejected Thursday as "baseless" allegations by the outlawed Mojahedeen Khalq Organisation (MKO) claiming that it has secret nuclear bomb centres near Tehran.
"I totally deny these allegations. This site is not a nuclear site and has nothing to do with our nuclear activities”, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, a senior Iranian negotiator with the International nuclear watchdog and the European Union’s so-called “Big 3” said, stressing that Iran has no undeclared nuclear activities.
Spokesmen for the National Council for Resistance in Iran, the political arm of the MKO had alleged on Tuesday that the Iranian military is actively engaged in the process of building atomic bomb by next year.
It is not good for the agency to be played and manipulated by a well-known terrorist group.
"It is not good for the agency to be played and manipulated by a well-known terrorist group", Moussavian pointed out, adding that Iran has agreed to all demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inspecting its nuclear centres.
"We have always responded positively to the agency's inspections requests. We have always cooperated", the British news agency Reuters quoted the official as having indicated when asked if IAEA inspectors could visit the alleged secret site.
“It is a well-timed lie as well. The group wants to make another fuss ahead of the IAEA board meeting on 25 November", Mr. Mousavian, who is the head of the Foreign Policy of Iran’s Supreme Council on National Security observed, adding: "They want to poison the board's atmosphere".
In a report to the IAEA’s Board of Directors, the Agency’s Chief said investigations by the Agency’s inspectors in the past two years shows that Iran had not diverted any of its declared nuclear materials to a weapons program, but did not rule out the possibility secret atomic activities existed.
A former high-ranking commander with the MKO told Iran Press Service that the group, listed by the United States and most western governments as a terrorist organisation has “no real information on what the Iranians are doing, even on civilian activities”.
Sources close to the Iranian nuclear programs told IPS that “because of its record of espionage for (the now toppled Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein and collaboration with the United States and Israel, Iran’s arch ‘enemies, the MKO has been almost wiped out in Iran and the families of members of the group in Iran are under tight control.
“Scientists working in Iranian nuclear activities, both civilian and military are checked regularly by specialists. Besides, being nationalists or fundamentalists, they are proud producing nuclear energy”, the source told IPS on condition of anonymity.
Hojjatoleslam Ali Mobbasheri, Prosecutor of Tehran’s Islamic Revolution tribunal announced on Wednesday that four people were tried for nuclear espionage activities.
Although he did not say when the men had been arrested and refused to identify them, but he let it be known hat the accused are members of the MKO.
Asked about the group’s earlier disclosure of secret Iranian nuclear centres, the former MKO official who was in charge of the group’s military intelligence and security said most of the information they produced were coming from American sources.
He was referring to the so-called revelations made in 2002 by the group in Washington on uranium-enrichment plant near the central city of Natanz.
“Those sites were not secret. The Americans had them caught by their satellites. At that time, the MKO was the darling of the Pentagon and the CIA that, in order to popularize them with the American and Western public opinion, they provided the group with the information that they confirmed one day after by publishing the pictures”, the source explained.
The Vienna-based IAEA subsequently investigated the sites.
The timing of these revelations raises suspicions that the group is attempting to derail Iran's deal with the Europeans.
Both Farid Soleimani and Mohammad Mohaddesin, spokesmen for the MKO’s political branch told a press conference in Vienna and Paris on Wednesday that the Iranian military was hiding an enrichment site in northeast Tehran and claimed Abdul Qadeer Khan known as the “father” of Pakistan’s atomic programs had delivered bomb designs and weapons-grade uranium to Iran.
Pakistan has already dismissed the claim as "highly exaggerated".
One day after the new allegations from the MKO, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Washington had information that Iran is seeking to adapt its missiles to carry nuclear warheads.
"I have seen some information that would suggest that they've been actively working on delivery systems to deliver it", Mr. Powell said.
On November 9 Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said that Iran is capable of mass-producing the Shahab-3, a 1.500 to 1.700 kilometres range ballistic missile capable of hitting Israel.
Asked if he got the information from the National Council for Resistance in Iran, Powell said: "I've seen intelligence which would corroborate what this dissident group is saying, and it should be of concern to all parties," Powell said.
But David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonpartisan arms control group in Washington, said, "The timing of these revelations raises suspicions that the group is attempting to derail Iran's deal with the Europeans, particularly since there is no evidence to back up any of these claims".
He added that the allegation that Pakistan supplied Iran with highly enriched uranium in 2001 "seems preposterous, given the fact that was a year when the United States was really cracking down on Pakistan's nuclear export activities."
“It is not surprising that every time Iran and Europe and the IAEA come close to some understanding, the MKO make revelations that are immediately enlarged by the American media and officials”, an Iranian analyst observed, referring to the latest accords reached last week in Paris between officials from Iran and the European “Troika”.
Tehran agreed to suspend enriching uranium as from 22 November and in turn, is expecting that its controversial case would be dropped by the IAEA when its 35 directors meet again on 25 November in Vienna.
Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the Secretary of the SCNS and Iran’s top negotiator with both the IAEA and the Big 3 has warned that the 25 November meeting would be of “capital importance” for the future of Iran-Europe-IAEA cooperation.
However, the Paris Accord had come under strong criticism from Iranian hard liners. Mr. Ali Larijani, a former Head of Iranian Radio and Television controlled directly by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic tipped to be a candidate for the coming presidential elections in Iran said recently in reference to the accords that “Iran gave pearls to Europe and got bonbons instead”.
But both President Mohammad Khatami and Mr. Moussavian repeated in separate declarations that all agreements reached with the Europeans were approved by the leader.
France, Britain and Germany are drafting a resolution on Iran for a key meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog next week and Washington is pushing the trio to include some tough language, diplomats said on Thursday.
"They are preparing a resolution that will deal with the suspension of the enrichment program and verification of the suspension by the IAEA," a Western diplomat close to the Iran-EU negotiations told Reuters.
The draft resolution will be submitted to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board when it meets on Nov. 25.
Diplomats said Washington would like the Europeans to include a so-called "trigger mechanism" in the resolution that would set the stage for a referral to the Security Council if Iran resumed activities linked to uranium enrichment or was found to be hiding any more sites from the IAEA.
But they said the EU three would prefer to avoid any harsh U.S.-backed language that could disrupt the delicate talks aimed at persuading Tehran to permanently abandon enrichment. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 181104