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Iran-Nuclear: Exile says Iran expands tunnels for nuclear work

Alireza JafarzadehReuters, UNITED NATIONS, September 17 – An exiled opponent of Iran’s Islamic rulers said on Friday Iran had greatly expanded a system of underground tunnels to conceal work on a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

"What I found out is that in a number of places … Iran has built very sophisticated tunnels with all the facilities that they need, including water, electricity and ventilation, to produce a very large working space to operate deep underground," said Alireza Jafarzadeh, who has reported accurately in the past about hidden atomic facilities in Iran.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, Patrick Clawson, Paul Leventhal and Raymond TanterReuters, UNITED NATIONS, September 17 – An exiled opponent of Iran’s Islamic rulers said on Friday Iran had greatly expanded a system of underground tunnels to conceal work on a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

"What I found out is that in a number of places … Iran has built very sophisticated tunnels with all the facilities that they need, including water, electricity and ventilation, to produce a very large working space to operate deep underground," said Alireza Jafarzadeh, who has reported accurately in the past about hidden atomic facilities in Iran.

He made the latest charge on the eve of a speech by new Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadijenad to the United Nations expected to make proposals to allay concerns over what Tehran insists is a purely civilian nuclear energy program.

Nuclear tunnelling in IranThe report is the seventh made by the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in as many weeks ahead of next week’s important meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear program.

Jafarzadeh said in March that Tehran was secretly purifying uranium for use in nuclear weapons at a recently-constructed underground facility at its Parchin military complex.

He told Reuters he now had information that the tunnelling went far beyond Parchin, a site U.N. inspectors have visited once but to which they have since been denied access. 

"What I’m saying now is that this is more extensive in the past one year. Iran has produced some 14 large scale tunnels and several smaller tunnels for nuclear-related activities" around Tehran and in other parts of the country, he said.

"Some of these tunnels are dedicated to secret military nuclear factories, completely equipped with water, electricity and air conditioning. Other tunnels are dedicated to storage for weapons and missiles, built to the required technical standards."

Jafarzadeh is a former spokesman for NCRI, an exile group that seeks to overthrow Iran’s clerical rulers and is listed by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.