Cablegate: Existence of a Covert Uranium Enrichment

O 251814Z SEP 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph
3 for action.

2. (SBU) BACKGROUND: The United States is aware that
Iran has been secretly building another enrichment
facility, in addition to the one at Natanz. Some other
governments are also in possession of similar
information. The United States, France, and the United
Kingdom briefed the IAEA on Thursday, 24 September on
this facility. The United States remains committed to a
diplomatic resolution of international concerns with
Iran's nuclear program. These concerns are reinforced
by the existence of this facility. Immediate,
unconditional cooperation by Iran with the IAEA is
essential to address these concerns and to ensure that a
diplomatic process has a chance to succeed.

3. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Posts are requested to inform
senior host government officials of the existence of a
covert uranium enrichment facility in Iran using the
points contained in paragraph 4. Posts are NOT
authorized to provide a copy of the points. Washington
understands that, in a previous iteration of this
message, a non-paper was authorized. If points have
already been conveyed in writing, posts are instructed
to request discretion on the part of host government
interlocutors. If asked about coincidental claims by an
Iranian exile group of previously unknown nuclear
weaponization sites, posts should convey the following,
IC-cleared point:

-- We do not believe that these other sites that you
refer to are the Qom enrichment site. There are many
suspect sites, including these others, that we monitor.


-- We have acquired substantial, specific information
that Iran has been secretly building another enrichment
facility ? in addition to Natanz.

-- The facility is located near the city of Qom, Iran,
and has been under construction for several years. The
facility is located in an underground tunnel complex on
the grounds of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

-- Earlier this year, we developed information that gave
us increased confidence that the facility was a uranium
enrichment site.

-- The site is under the management of the Atomic Energy
Organization of Iran, but unknown to all but the most
senior AEOI officials.

-- The site is intended to hold approximately 3000
centrifuges but we do not know what type of centrifuge
Iran intends to employ there. We assess an enrichment
plant containing 3000 centrifuges is not adequate to
produce regular fuel reloads for civilian nuclear power
plants, which require a much larger number of

-- Based on our understanding of the status of the
facility, we assess that Iran will not be able to begin
enriching uranium there before at least 2010. Iran is
continuing construction of support buildings at the
facility. Intelligence indicates that earlier this
year, Iran was installing the infrastructure required
for centrifuges.

-- Iran may claim that this facility is for civilian
nuclear fuel production. The Iranian government
continues to claim that it is not pursuing a nuclear
weapon. Yet this facility is too small to be viable for
production of fuel for a nuclear power reactor. It may
be well-suited, however, for a military purpose.

-- We are aware that some other governments are in
possession of similar information.

-- We learned this week that Iran has sent the IAEA a
letter indicating that it is constructing a pilot fuel
enrichment facility and that the "required
infrastructure has been established."

-- The letter provides no details and states that

STATE 00100153 002 OF 002

"further complementary information will be provided in
an appropriate and due time." We assume this new
enrichment facility is the facility that we and other
governments have been tracking.

-- We, the UK and France have briefed the IAEA on the
information that they have so that they can fully
investigate the facility. The President, with his UK
and French counterparts, plans to make an announcement
Friday morning in Pittsburgh.

-- We firmly believe that the existence of a new
centrifuge facility in Iran constitutes a serious
violation of Iran's international obligations.

-- Iran was required to suspend all uranium enrichment-
related activities in UN Security Council resolution
1737. This legally-binding requirement has been
reaffirmed in three subsequent UNSC resolutions.

-- When Iran decided to build this facility, it was
obligated to declare this to the IAEA. It failed to do

-- What is clear is that Iran once again has engaged in
a deceit of the international community. The President
made clear that we are serious about using diplomacy to
find a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear
program, but in order to do so, Iran needs to be
transparent and truthful.

-- It is now time for Iran to prove to the international
community that it is willing to play by the rules. We
urge your public support on this matter as we head into
the October 1 meeting with Iran.

-- It will particularly important that Iran understand
that it must end the pattern of deception and once and
for all commit itself to full transparency. It is time
for Iran to come clean on the questions about its
weaponization studies and to implement the Additional

-- The Ministers of the P5+1 held a productive meeting
on the margins of the UN General Assembly. They stated
their expectation that Iran will be prepared to take
constructive steps when it meets with the P5+1 on
October 1st. In light of this new and troubling
information, the burden is clearly on Iran to prove the
exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. It
is essential that Iran accept that the process in Geneva
must be real an address their nuclear program. We are
prepared to engage in a real process but will not be a
party to a phony one.

-- We hope that we can count on your public support for
holding Iran to its international obligations.


5. (U) Posts are requested to report any substantive
responses. Richard Nephew (ISN/RA, 202-647-7680, is the Department's POC for
this cable.


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