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Claim: Iran uses academic institutions to hide nuke program
Mon. 20 Mar 2006

United Press International

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- Iran is using academic institutions as a cover for research and development of its nuclear weapons program, a leading opposition figure said Monday.

"Given Tehran's record of lies and deceptions, using academic institutions to develop a nuclear bomb, makes it even more difficult to stop Iran's secret development of a nuclear weapon," said Alireza Jafarzadeh, president of Strategic Policy Consulting.

"There are (academic) nuclear sites involved in research and development of Iran's nuclear weapons program, which remain un-inspected by the (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspectors to date," he continued.

Jafarzadeh, who insisted his information was "precise and verified" from sources inside the hard-line regime, said they include Imam Hossein University of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran.

Extensive tests and research for production of nuclear weapons take place at the university, which is the main academic facility for training the personnel and commanders of the IRGC and members of the regime's intelligence security, said Jafarzadeh.

"The Imam Hossein University has a scientific group and a nuclear physics department," he said. "The fact that a nuclear physics unit exists in a military university related to the IRGC suggests the regime's goals in procuring a nuclear weapon."

According to Jafarzadeh, senior cleric Hassan Rowhani, former secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and then nuclear negotiator with Europe, has conceded that the regime has used universities to conceal nuclear projects.

At a council speech last October, Rowhani reportedly acknowledged that the regime had conducted several tests under the cover of academic research and tried to keep it hidden from the IAEA.

Iran is currently engaged in a stand-off with the international community over its nuclear program, which it contends is for peaceful purposes.

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