An organization of Iranian exiles on Thursday said Tehran relocated dozens of alleged personnel conducting experiments to help the nation potentially build nuclear arms, Reuters reported.
Informants said a Defense Ministry facility soon would house the research operation dubbed "SPND," according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran. An NCRI report says the alleged atomic effort employs roughly 100 scientists and other staffers.
"There is a link between this transfer and the date of Geneva [talks] because the regime needed to avoid the risk of visits by [U.N. nuclear] inspectors," said Mehdi Abrichamtchi, who authored an NCRI analysis on the alleged move. Iranian diplomats are scheduled next week to meet with counterparts from six major governments over concerns that Tehran's ostensibly peaceful nuclear program is geared toward developing a nuclear-weapon capability.
The exile organization in 2002 revealed uranium-enrichment operations then happening in secret at Iran's Natanz complex, as well as preparation of the country's still-unfinished Arak heavy-water reactor. However, the group has issued less accurate assertions since that time.
Iran insists it only wants to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, an assertion doubted by the United States and its allies.
A prominent Iranian legislator on Wednesday rebuffed press findings that Iran might shutter a separate, underground facility for uranium-enrichment in exchange for relief from international economic penalties, the state-run Tehran Times reported in an article quoted by United Press International.
Iran's parliament "will not allow" the country to halt operations at the Qum bunker complex, said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the legislature's national security and foreign policy committee.
The lawmaking body's news office on Thursday said certain reported statements by its speaker were "basically false," according to Iran's Press TV.
The parliament was responding to comments its speaker reportedly made on Wednesday to the Associated Press. Ali Larijani, a former top nuclear negotiator, said his country could negotiate over "some surplus [enriched uranium] that we don't need," according to AP.