Iran has begun secretly moving some of its most sensitive nuclear research facilities and materials from North Tehran and the Arak heavy water plant to huge storage areas around the newly-fueled reactor at Bushehr, along with advanced missiles from the southern province of Khuzestan, DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose.
The fueling of the Russian-built reactor since its inauguration on Aug. 21 has rendered the location safe from outside air or missile attack for fear of environmental radiation. Tehran is exploiting this advantage to conceal the forbidden facets of its nuclear and missile programs.
Already on Aug. 22, Iran’s National Security Council discussed exhaustively how best to take advantage of this immunity and the large storage depots the Russians had built around the reactor for their heavy equipment to hidie their most secret projects, weapons and materials. Their six-hour session produced a detailed plan which was submitted to supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is commander-in-chief of Iran’s armed forces. He gave it the go-ahead on Aug. 26.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Bushehr nuclear reactor compound is accordingly in the process of transformation into one of the most important military facilities in the country. It is to be dedicated to four special functions:
- The relocation of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons research center from North Tehran;
- As hangars for storing advanced missiles, weapons and components the Iranians want to keep under wraps;
- For research laboratories engaged in the research and development of new weapons systems;
- Orders went out in the first week of September to start preparing the compound to accommodate Iran’s most advanced ground-to-ground missiles to be moved out of the oil-rich Khuzestan province.
Last week, our Iranian sources report, the work teams with top security clearance who had worked with the Russians on the nuclear reactor’s construction received new orders to start converting the two biggest storage areas to their new functions.
The Russian teams were told remove themselves with their equipment since the space they had occupied for 15 years was being fenced off and declared a closed military zone. Their departure was expedited by the posting of Revolutionary Guards special commandos around the temporary fence to prevent their access.