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Two More Nuclear Sites Suspected in Iran: Report - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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WASHINGTON (AFP) – UN inspectors and intelligence specialists in western countries believe Iran may be preparing to build at least two additional secret nuclear sites despite demands that it open up its nuclear program, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said the suspicions were prompted by recent comments by a top Iranian official.

In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran?s Atomic Energy Organization, said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ordered work to begin soon on two new plants.

The plants, he said, “will be built inside mountains,” presumably to protect them from attacks, according to The Times report.

“God willing,” Salehi was quoted as saying, “we may start the construction of two new enrichment sites” in the Iranian new year, which began March 21.

Last September, US President Barack Obama revealed the evidence of a hidden Iranian nuclear site at Qum.

US officials say they share the International Atomic Energy Agency’s suspicions and are examining satellite evidence about a number of suspected sites in Iran, The Times said.

But they have found no solid indications yet that Iran plans to use the new sites to produce nuclear fuel, the report said. Also, US officials are not certain about the number of sites Iran may be planning.

But even if the sites are built, US officials believe they would pose no immediate threat or change US estimates that it will still take Iran one to four years to obtain the capability to build a nuclear weapon, the paper said.

They think it would probably take several years for Iran to enrich uranium at any of the new sites, The Times noted.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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