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U.S.: No nuke work at Iran plant

From National Security Correspondent David Ensor

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. officials have told CNN there is "no evidence" any nuclear work has been done at an Iranian military complex near Tehran, although high explosives testing has been done there for many years.

The comments were made in response to report by ABC News in the U.S. Wednesday evening that said Iran "may be taking steps toward developing a nuclear device" at the site, known as Parchin.

An official at the International Atomic Energy Agency also told CNN that while the Parchin complex was watched "with interest," he was unaware of intelligence suggesting nuclear work has been done there.

The sprawling military complex is about 18 miles (29 kilometers) southeast of Tehran and is used to test ammunition, rockets and high explosives.

In a statement, David Albright and Corey Hinderstein of the Institute for Science and International Security said Parchin "is a logical candidate for a nuclear weapons-related site" but called the evidence that nuclear work has been conducted there "ambiguous."

The two nuclear weapons experts called on Iran to allow inspectors from the IAEA to visit the site to "alleviate those suspicions."

An IAEA report earlier in September also found no evidence to support the charge that Iran had a secret nuclear program. (Full story)

On Friday, an Iranian opposition group that has in the past correctly identified Iranian nuclear facilities said it had discovered another major site, near Bandar Abbas.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran, at a Paris press conference, said that at a site about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Bandar Abbas, on the road towards Bandar Khomeini, a large facility was "in its final stage of being installed."

That facility, according to the group, will convert raw uranium yellowcake into uranium hexofluoride, a material used in the production of bomb-grade uranium.

Iran has maintained its enrichment program was devoted to peaceful purposes to produce nuclear energy, not nuclear weapons.

Although it was under no legal obligation to do so, Iran this year agreed to suspend its enrichment program as a show of good will to the international community.

The IAEA Board of Governors is meeting in Vienna, Austria this week, amid reports the United States and other members have agreed in principle to a resolution that would warn Iran it had less than two months to cease its nuclear activities and improve cooperation with inspectors.

The U.N. atomic watchdog agency says weapons inspectors have not uncovered evidence to support accusations that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons program.


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