Saagar Enjeti on October 11, 2017
Iran may be secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program on military sites away from international inspectors, a new report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) obtained by Fox News revealed Tuesday.
The 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the President Barack Obama administration limits inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials to declared civilian sites at a moments notice. The IAEA can request access to military sites, but Iran is allowed nearly a month to prepare sites before their inspection. Critics note this may be enough time to conceal any nefarious activity.
President Donald Trump will likely de-certify the Iranian nuclear deal to Congress in the coming week triggering a 60 day review of its effect on U.S. national security. Critics of the deal in Congress could raise inspections of military sites as a requirement for the regime to stave off future sanctions.
“An important feature of the Iranian regime’s nuclear program is that several sites and centers where nuclear-related activities are conducted are situated in sprawling military complexes that also house scores of tunnels and silos. This not only makes IAEA access to these locations more difficult, but also makes it possible to relocate these centers and projects to other locations within the complex,” Alireza Jafarzadeh, an NCRI official, told Fox News, adding “As such, if it becomes necessary to relocate a project or center, it can easily be moved to a different silo or tunnel within the parameters of the military site. This makes pinpointing the exact location of nuclear research and activities more challenging, and reduces the chance of exposure.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pressed IAEA inspections on Iranian military sites in August with many of the same concerns of the report. Iranian officials, however, strongly rebuffed her demand declaring publicly: “Iran’s military sites are off limits,” adding “information about these sites are classified. Iran will never allow such visits. Don’t pay attention to such remarks that are only a dream.”
The Institute for Science and International Security also echoed some concerns of the NCRI report in late August noting in a report that the U.S. should demand inspection of particular Iranian military sites to ensure testing helpful to nuclear development is not occurring.
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