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30th Jan 2023

Iran opposition group accuses EU of 'appeasement'

A leading Iranian exiled opposition group claimed on Wednesday (20 February) it has evidence that the Iranian government is still engaged in the development of nuclear weapons.

"The Iranian regime is undoubtedly developing the nuclear bomb," said Mohammad Mohaddessin, the chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) at a Brussels press conference.

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After offering details of what they claim is an ongoing nuclear weapons programme, including satellite photographs of two previously uncovered sites, Mr Mohaddessin then lashed out at European policy toward Iran, accusing the EU of appeasement.

Referring to the "huge trade" between Europe and Iran, Mr Mohaddessin said: "The EU is trying to achieve security through appeasing the Iranian regime."

"The EU is appeasing the Iranian regime and it is a disaster for the Iranian people. You remember what happened in the 1930s?

"They carried out exactly the same policy with Hitler that the EU is doing now with the Iranian regime."

The group, a coalition of political organisations that oppose Iran's Islamist government, outlined information it says it has obtained from sources "within the regime itself at various levels" and from the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran, the NCRI's largest member.

The NCRI spokesperson said that after April 2007, the Iranian regime entered a new phase in its nuclear project and for the first time established a centre for command and control for the completion of nuclear bombs.

At the first site, in the Noor suburb of Tehran, the command centre coordinates all the other sites that are involved in the production of nuclear weapons.

The command centre is situated across from the Malek Ashtar University, which the group says the school does not operate like a normal university and only has a handful of students.

"Rather, it is a centre for research and development of weapons that works in conjunction with the [command centre]," said Mr Mohaddessin.

The second site, a military-secured zone in Khojir region southeast of Tehran, is home to the government's project to manufacture nuclear warheads, the group says.

When quizzed on their sources and the provenance of the satellite photographs, the group said that they come from "hundreds of sources and reports" from within the country.

The group passed on its information to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, and called on the agency to immediately send inspectors to the sites revealed.

An unnamed IAEA official said the agency is aware of the allegations, according to the International Herald Tribune, but could not comment.

The group also called on the United Nations security council to impose comprehensive sanctions on Iran and the EU to remove the NCRI's military wing, the People's Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedin-e-Khalk (MEK) from its list of proscribed terrorist groups.

The EU currently lists some 60 groups on its terror black list, including Basque separatists ETA and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Originally a leftist group that mixed Communism with Islamism, the PMOI was persecuted by the Iranian government, with thousands of their members killed. They were subsequently sheltered by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The group's accusations come days after the Bush administration decided to submit to IAEA inspectors intelligence data alleging that Iran had been developing nuclear weapons until just under four years ago.

The IAEA is set to release a report on Iran's past nuclear activities next week in which the global nuclear watchdog is widely expected to give Iran a 'clean bill of health', saying it has no secret nuclear weapons programme.

The security council has already imposed two sets of sanctions against the Iranian government over the issue of nuclear weapons. A 'clean' IAEA report would mean that a third batch of sanctions is unlikely.

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