Speculation Flies About ‘Secret’ Iran Sites

Russia Says Bushehr Plant Won't Be Online Until 2010

Citing the September revelation of the under construction Qom facility by the Iranian government, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has asked Iran to disclose any other similar facilities that they are either building or might build at some point in the future. Iran didn’t answer.

This has provoked a flurry of speculation regarding whether or not Iran might have any other Qoms behind the scenes that will be revealed at a later date. Iran maintains that it is only legally required to reveal such facilities six months before they receive any nuclear material.

Even the most robust IAEA rules (which Iran has never ratified) would only require them to reveal sites before construction begins, nothing seems to indicate that Iran would ever be required to disclose the hypothetical future construction of such sites.

Iran’s existing enrichment program remains quite small, built around providing fuel for the Bushehr nuclear energy plant. The Bushehr plant, being built by Russia, was supposed to be finished this year, but Russia says it won’t be online until 2010.

Of course the wild card in all of this is the US claim that it secretly knew about Qom for years, and only came forward with its knowledge, inconveniently enough, days after Iran had already revealed it. If there are other Qoms out there, perhaps the IAEA should spend less time haranguing Iran to reveal them before they’re legally required to, and should just ask the US.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.