Iran has New Enrichment Facility, Says Opposition Group

By Gidon Belmaker
Gidon Belmaker
Gidon Belmaker
Gidon Belmaker is a former reporter and social media editor with The Epoch Times.
September 9, 2010 Updated: September 9, 2010

[xtypo_dropcap]A[/xtypo_dropcap]n Iranian opposition organization, the People's Mujahideen-e khalk (MEK), revealed in a press conference what they say is a new secret enrichment facility in Iran.

According to the organization a major top-secret and strategic nuclear enrichment site is located in the town of Abyek, 75 miles west of the Iranian capital, Tehran. The Behjatabad-Abyek nuclear enrichment site is code-named 311, and is near Qazvin. MEK is on the U.S. state department terror list.

According to the presentation shown at a Washington press conference, and also available online, the construction of the site began in early 2005 and 85 percent of the construction work has been completed. The site is built deep inside mountains to withstand aerial bombings. The regime has spent $100 million on the project, says MEK. In addition, many camps of the army and ministry of defense are located nearby.

The facility was reportedly built inside a mountain to protect it. The site’s main entrance is a tunnel, 26 feet wide. It leads deep inside the ground to three large halls, 50-65 feet wide and 656 feet long, says MEK. The site also has an exit shaft and a vertical shaft. There are halls and office space inside the tunnels.

According to assessments by nuclear experts, if true, the depth of the facility would prevent radioactive material emissions. The thickness of dirt on top of the tunnel also neutralizes any possible impact of aerial bombardment on the facilities inside the tunnels.

The organizations say that the information came from officials inside the Iranian regime.

In closing remarks at the press conference, professor Raymond Tanter, president of the Iran Policy Committee, said that ties to the Iranian national security establishment and pro-democracy movement give the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its largest unit, MEK, unprecedented access to nuclear secrets.

“Name me other pro-democracy organizations with access to such secrets and willing to reveal them,” said Tanter.

In the daily U.S. State Department press briefing, spokesman Mark C. Toner says that the group has made claims in the past about nuclear facilities. He said that the state department will study the group’s finding. He emphasized that the MEK is still considered a terror organization by the United States.

Gidon Belmaker is a former reporter and social media editor with The Epoch Times.