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Source: Iran acknowledges second nuclear facility


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Adrienne
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« on: September 25, 2009, 07:19:17 am »

Source: Iran acknowledges second nuclear facility
Posted: 05:42 AM ET

(CNN) Iran has admitted the existence of a second uranium enrichment plant in a letter sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.S. diplomatic source told CNN.

The letter mentioned the facility, located on a military base near the holy city of Qom, the source said. It is thought capable of housing 3,000 centrifuges, not enough to produce nuclear fuel to power a reactor, but sufficient to manufacture bomb-making material, she said.

U.S. and French intelligence officials have known about the facility for several months, the source said. When Iran discovered that Western nations had knowledge of the facility, it sent the letter to the IAEA.
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Adrienne
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 07:19:50 am »

PITTSBURGH — President Barack Obama and the leaders of France and Britain will demand Friday that Iran open to international inspectors a secret nuclear facility it has tried to hide from the world for years, a senior White House official told The Associated Press.

The three leaders – Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy – will open the G-20 economic summit with their demand that Tehran allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the facility for producing nuclear fuel, officials said.

Iran has kept the facility, 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from weapons inspectors, but the U.S. has long known of its existence, the official said. Obama decided to go public with the revelation after Iran learned that Western intelligence agencies were aware of the project.

The officials spoke on grounds of anonymity because Obama's announcement was still pending.

Word the three leaders would make the announcement was first reported by The New York Times.

Meanwhile, a diplomat in Vienna and another European government official told The Associated Press on Friday that Tehran has informed the IAEA of a previously undeclared uranium enriching facility.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was confidential, said Iran revealed its existence in a letter sent Monday to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the atomic energy agency.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made no mention of the facility this week while attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, but said that his country had fully cooperated with international nuclear inspectors.
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Adrienne
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2009, 07:20:12 am »

Administration officials said the disclosure would make it easier to make the case for imposing sanctions if Iran blocks inspections or refuses to quit its nuclear program.

Iran is under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze enrichment at what had been its single known enrichment plant, which is being monitored by the IAEA.

The officials in Europe said Iran's letter contained no details about the location of the second facility, when – or if – it had started operations or the type and number of centrifuges it was running.

But one of the officials, who had access to a review of Western intelligence on the issue, said it was about 100 miles southwest of Tehran and was the site of 3,000 centrifuges that could be operational by next year.

Iranian semiofficial new agency ISNA on Friday confirmed reports on the country's second enrichment plant.

Iranian officials had previously acknowledged having only one plant – which is under IAEA monitoring – and had denied allegations of undeclared nuclear activities.

An August IAEA report said Iran had set up more than 8,000 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium at its underground facility outside the southern city of Natanz. The report said that only about 4,600 centrifuges were fully active.

Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium for a nationwide chain of nuclear reactors. But because enrichment can also produce weapons-grade uranium, the international community fears Tehran will make fissile material for nuclear warheads.

The revelation of a secret plant further hinders the chances of progress in scheduled Oct. 1 talks between Iran and six world powers.

___

Jahn contributed to this report from Vienna.
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