WASHINGTON — An Iranian resistance group claimed Friday that the Iranian regime has expanded its efforts to build nuclear weapons.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said at press conference that the Iranian government has covered up research activities so that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can’t examine it. Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the NCRI, said the information was obtained by the People’s’ Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which procured it from onsite observations and sources inside the Iranian government.
NCRI is the parent organization of MEK, which was delisted by the State Department as a terrorist organization in 2012. The group has close ties with key American politicians as Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman recently spoke at a luncheon held by the group.
Jararzadeh said that the information his group has obtained indicates that METFAZ the unit responsible for building a trigger for a nuclear weapon has moved its main activities within Parchin, a key military complex. A press release by NCRI stated: “The reason for the move was based on the conclusion reached by regime officials that the probability for the IAEA to get access to Parchin in the future is extremely low, which means that the site is the optimal location for shielding the regime’s activities in this regard.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a Tuesday letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that Iran has remained complaint with the 2015 nuclear deal, and Jafarzadeh said that the letter isn’t “contradicting” NCRI’s findings. The representative for the opposition group added that NCRI had shared their information with the U.S. government in the past “few days.”
“That doesn’t mean that this is a clean bill of health for the nuclear program of Iran. It just means that the kind of things that they’ve been monitoring, only things they have been monitoring, that they have been in compliance. It’s not the whole thing,” Jafarzadeh said about the letter.
He said that the research site at Parchin needs to be “investigated immediately.” NRI revealed in 2002 the existence of two nuclear-related plants, however, the State Department disputed their claim in 2015 about an ID facility being involved with uranium enrichment. Frank Pabian, a senior adviser on nuclear nonproliferation at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, told The New York Times that NCRI isn’t “perfect” on their revelations, but are “right 90 percent of the time.”