WASHINGTON – As the Obama administration negotiates a controversial nuclear agreement with Iran, a dissident group is revealing evidence Tehran is operating a secret uranium-enrichment site northeast of the capital city.
The disclosure Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI, threatens to undermine the credibility of any nuclear agreement the Obama administration might reach with the radical Islamic clerics that have controlled the government in Tehran since Ayatollah Khomeni's revolution in 1979.
NCRI's deputy director, Alireza Jafarzadeh, said Iran cannot be trusted.
"How in the world can the United States expect to get an agreement from Iran to end their nuclear program, when we continue to find Iran is developing and operating secret nuclear facilities that are withheld even from the United Nations International Atomic Energy Administration?" Jafarzadeh asked.
"Iran has lied repeatedly about its secret nuclear facilities, and then when Iran is caught, the government gives you two more lies," he said.
Jafarzadeh and Soona Samsami, U.S. representative of NCRI, identified the secret nuclear site as Lavizan-3, located in the northeastern suburbs of Tehran.
They said it operates advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges under the cover of an Intelligence Ministry center.
The NCRI disclosure was developed by the Mujahedin-e Klaq, MEK, the group's political arm in Iran founded in 1965 to oppose Khomeini's radical Islamic revolution.
NCRI has a track record of accurately disclosing secret Iranian uranium enrichment sites. In 2002, NCRI revealed Iran's top secret uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, some 100 miles north of Isfahan, and a second top secret Iranian nuclear plant in Arak, approximately 150 miles south of Tehran, designed to produce heavy water for the production of plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.
The Lavizan-3 site is about 500 by 500 yards, with the primary nuclear facility buried deep underground, NCRI said. It consists of four parallel halls, each more than 200 yards long. The facility was constructed by the Iranian Defense Ministry under the direction of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brig. Gen. Seyyed Ali Hosseini-Tash, then the deputy defense minister, and Kalaye Electric Company, affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, responsible for the enrichment of uranium.
Jafarzadeh said there is "no way to insure Iran is not developing secret nuclear weapons if Tehran keeps nuclear sites like Lavizan-3 hidden even from the IAEA such that the sites cannot be subject to international inspection."
"This is especially important when you are talking about a regime that has a track record of lying, cheating and deceiving the whole world," he said. "That is why the U.S. government and the IAEA should take this information very seriously."
Jafarzadeh emphasized the importance of the disclosure of yet another secret Iranian nuclear site as the negotiations with the U.S. in Geneva are approach a March 31 deadline.
"This site, Levizan-3, must be inspected and there should be no delay," he said. "It is absolutely senseless to continue the negotiations discussing how many centrifuges Iran will be allowed to have going forward when we have these serious outstanding issues lingering out there."
Jafarzadeh said NCRI shared the disclosures with top levels of the U.S. government and with the IAEA.
The disclosures were a "revelation" to the IAEA, he said.
"Under current IAEA agreements, the operation of Levizan-3 is in clear violation of IAEA requirements to inform the IAEA of all developments in Iranian nuclear research and development, as well as a violation of numerous United Nations Security Council decrees, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he said.
An NCRI statement said the "notion that the mullahs will abandon their nuclear weapons program through nuclear talks is a misguided narrative, which is the byproduct of the mullahs' duplicity and western economic and political expediency."
"Those who hope to secure the regime's cooperation in the campaign against fundamentalism by offering nuclear concessions to the mullahs are both increasing the chances of a nuclear-armed Iran and contributing to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism," NCRI said.
In a prepared statement she read at the press conference,
Samsami said in a prepared statement that research and development with advanced centrifuges in secret sites are only intended to advance Iran's nuclear weapons project.
"Why else would the Iranian regime deceive the world into believing it had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, when Levizan-3 was in preparation from 2004 through 2008?" she asked.
"If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, the United States must make the continuation of talks conditional on the IAEA's immediate inspection of the Levizan-3 site," she stressed. "Any delay in doing so will enable the Iranian regime to destroy the evidence as it has done in the past."
In 2005, WND Books published "Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians." The author, senior staff writer Jerome Corsi, argued Iranian supporters in the U.S. of the Islamic regime, including New York-based investment banker Hassan Nemazee, had influenced U.S. politicians such as then-Sen. John Kerry to take campaign contributions in exchange for accepting an Iranian promise of developing nuclear capabilities only for energy.
In 2004, Nemazee served as the New York finance chairman for Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, followed by serving as finance chairman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
In her 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton chose Nemazee to serve as her national finance director.
On March 2010, Nemazee, then 60, pleaded guilty in federal court to fraudulently applying for and receiving some $292 million in loans. As chairman of Nemazee Capital, he received the loans from Citicorp, Bank of America and HSBC to buy property in Westchester County, make campaign contributions to Democratic Party politicians, donate to charity and to support his lavish society lifestyle.
On July 15, 2010, U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York sentenced Namazee to more than 12 years in federal prison on multiple federal criminal counts of bank and wire fraud.