Iran Confirms Secret 2nd Nuclear Lab

Tehran preempts Obama accusation, admits to underground enrichment site
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2009 6:00 AM CDT
Barack Obama chairs a Security Council meeting at UN headquarters, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. To his left are British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Iran confirmed today that it has built a second uranium enrichment site in an underground facility hidden from weapons inspectors—a revelation coming just hours before Barack Obama and other Western leaders were prepared to disclose it. The US has been tracking the secret project for years, officials say, but Obama decided to go public, before the G20 summit opens today, after Iran discovered that Western intelligence agencies had unearthed the site. This morning an anonymous Iranian official said that "reports by some foreign news agencies" about a "second enrichment center" were correct.

Iran has told the UN nuclear watchdog little, but Western officials tell the New York Times that the nuclear site is buried inside a mountain near Qom, the holy city about 100 miles from Tehran. It is supposedly not yet complete, although it can hold about 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium—enough to produce one nuclear bomb a year. One senior US official says the revelation will make it easier to obtain agreement on new sanctions: "They have cheated three times. And they have now been caught three times."