New York, Asharq Al-Awsat- US sources and an expert on the Iranian Nuclear issue revealed that the new Iranian Nuclear facility is located within a Revolutionary Guard base near the city of Qom, and that only senior Iranian officials were aware of the existence of this underground facility.
Jacqueline Shire, a Senior Analyst and expert on nuclear proliferation at the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security [ISIS] told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was not likely that this secret Iranian nuclear facility was discovered solely by satellite technology. She added “Satellite images do not explain the nature of what is happening underground, and therefore there must have been a human intelligence origin which led to the discovery of this new facility.”
ISIS President David Albright supported Shire’s analysis, saying that it was unlikely that American and Western intelligence agencies discovered the presence of the new nuclear facility solely by way of satellite technology “because the facility is built underground and it is difficult for satellites to collect information [on facilities] this deep underground. Therefore the most likely way that western intelligence found out about this facility is by human sources or an Iranian mistake, which enabled the Western intelligence to detect this [facility].”
At the same time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that the Qom nuclear facility would be operational within 18 months, an aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed that the facility will become operational soon.
A source in the Iranian delegation in New York also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ahmadinejad was surprised by the western accusations. The source clarified this saying “Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] of the new facility before the legal date of notification in accordance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty; IAEA rules state that a country must inform the Agency of the construction of any new facility just 40 days before it becomes operational, and we are more than one year from the Qom facility becoming operational.”
The source also revealed that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon left the G20 summit in Pittsburgh for New York where he held a three-hour long meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The source told Asharq Al-Awsat “we believe that the intelligence agencies of certain countries have caught US President Barack Obama in a trap, and made him seem like somebody who does not know what he is saying. There is a diplomatic phobia to Iran, and there are those who want to sabotage the talks with such information.”
Meanwhile, a senior aide to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that Iran was helping his country in exploring and detecting uranium deposits discovered in remote areas of Venezuela. The Venezuelan President also revealed a plan to create what he called a “nuclear village” in Venezuela, with technological assistance being provided by Iran.