Suspicions Arise About Iran's Nuclear Program
Sept. 15, 2004 -- The U.S. government and the International Atomic Energy Agency have questions about a military site in Iran with suspected ties to the country's nuclear program, ABC News has learned.
Iran's Parchin complex — covering approximately 15 square miles and located about 19 miles southeast of Tehran — is known as a center for the production of conventional ammunition and explosives. A State Department official has confirmed the United States suspects nuclear activity at some of its facilities. The suspicions focus on possible testing of high explosives.
"Parchin is the center of Iran's munitions industry and home to Iran's oldest ammunitions factory, founded before World War II," said John Pike, directory of GlobalSecurity.org, an organization that seeks to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.
"It would be the logical place for Iran to conduct weaponization work on an atomic bomb and the logical place for us to look for such work," he said.
Images of Parchin, obtained exclusively by ABC News, show a building within the facility's high-explosive test area that could permit the testing of especially large explosions, including those relevant to the development of a nuclear weapon.
"While the imagery is not definitive, it raises enough questions that Iran should allow IAEA inspection of the site to alleviate concerns," said Corey Hinderstein, deputy director of the Institute for Science and International Security — a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution that seeks to inform the public about science and policy issues affecting international security.