March 22, 2021
Iran is concealing the true scale of its nuclear program from the international community, Western intelligence agencies have warned.
Officials say satellite images show that Tehran has hidden equipment and resources from the UN, including components for centrifuges needed to enrich uranium.
They add that the parts are being housed in 75 containers that are frequently moved around the country to compounds run by the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The new revelations that Iran is trying to conceal vital elements of its nuclear program from the outside world shows that Tehran has no intention of complying with its international obligations under the terms of the nuclear deal,” a senior official from a Western intelligence agency told the Daily Telegraph.
“It is yet another indication that the regime remains committed to acquiring nuclear weapons.”
Under the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran is required to reveal inventories of all equipment and records of activities in relation to its nuclear program, as well as provide open access to UN inspectors.
Last year, however, Iran blocked access to two sites suspected of holding materials needed for uranium enrichment.
Its Parliament subsequently passed a motion banning all UN inspections of Iranian sites, and increasing uranium enrichment rates to five times the limit agreed in the JCPOA, drawing condemnation from the UN, the US, the UK, France and Germany.
Intelligence sources believe that some of the equipment being concealed by Tehran has come into its possession post-2015, contradicting the terms of the JCPOA, from which the US withdrew in 2018 following repeated Iranian violations.
US President Joe Biden has hinted that a return to the terms of the deal is possible, but only if Iran is prepared to stop breaking its pledges.
Last month, however, an Iranian official revealed that Tehran is prepared to restart its nuclear program unless economic sanctions imposed by former US President Donald Trump are lifted.
Trump had called the JCPOA “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”
US intelligence officials believe that Iran has been seeking to develop nuclear weapons since 2003.