Alireza Jafarzadeh, a member of the foreign affairs committee of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), shows a map at a news conference in Brussels, February 20, 2008, of what NCRI says is a clandestine nuclear site in Iran.
An exiled Iranian opposition group today claimed that Iran is accelerating its nuclear weapons program, despite what the United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has said.
“The Iran regime entered a new phase in its nuclear project,” said Mohammad Mohaddessin, a representative of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran.
He claimed that, for the first time, Tehran had established a command and control center to work on a nuclear bomb and that southeast of the capital it was also setting up a center to produce warheads.
Iran has steadfastly denied it is working to obtain a nuclear bomb, arguing that its nuclear program is purely civilian. In December, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate said that Iran halted a nuclear weapons development program in 2003 because of international pressure.
Mohaddessin told a news conference that Iran had closed down one center only to open another later with the same purpose. He called the U.S. report “not accurate.”
In the meantime, on the eve of a new report of the IAEA, Iran President Ahmadinejad ups the rhetoric about its nuclear soverign rights and Israel.
Key graphs from Ahmadinejad:
- On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad defiantly vowed that Iran has no intention of ceding to the main demand of the UN Security Council that it suspends uranium enrichment operations and proclaimed the country had defeated world powers.“With the help of God, the Iranian nation with its unity, faith and determination stood and defeated the world powers and brought them to their knees,” he told cheering crowds in the speech.”World powers should know the Iranian nation considers nuclear energy its undeniable and definite right and will not accept any imposition or any additional cruel rules.”
- “World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in the southern city of Bandar Abbas broadcast on state television.The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, on Monday had predicted Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah would destroy Israel in the near future.
Look for more rhetoric and spin by the Iranians to provide cover for their friends and economic partners China and Russia in the United Nations Security Council. The prospect for ANY meaningful sanctions coming from the UNSC is doubtful.
But, will the United States and EU decide upon their own course of action? Finally?