The Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) in north Tehran is Iran’s main nuclear research center. It houses several important nuclear research facilities.

The TNRC conducted many secret nuclear activities. Several of these activities involved nuclear material and were in violation of Iran’s obligations under its comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

An example of an important secret program was the gas centrifuge program. It started at the TNRC in 1985 under the plasma physics department.1 According to a former senior U.N. official close to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran stated that one of the laboratories of the plasma physics department ran one or two test centrifuges in the late 1980s or early 1990s, although apparently without uranium hexafluoride. The department built another facility at the TNRC with a large hall that was likely intended to hold cascades of IR-1 centrifuges that would enrich uranium, according to this official. But, according to this official, Iran in the mid-1990s became increasingly concerned about the difficulty of hiding a secret plant that would enrich uranium in blatant violation of its safeguards agreement. This was a well-known nuclear site and Western and IAEA scrutiny of Iran’s secret activities at the site was growing.2

Starting in about 1993, the IAEA asked to visit more facilities at the TNRC than just those declared under Iran’s safeguards agreement. At one point, the IAEA even asked to visit the larger plasma physics facility that was to house centrifuge cascades, but Iran refused, according to a former senior U.N. official close to the IAEA. Iran cited a fire that had just occurred, preventing a visit; an explanation which apparently at the time satisfied the IAEA. Nonetheless, faced with the possibility of the centrifuge program’s exposure, Iran decided to move its centrifuge research and development activities to Kalaye Electric, according to Iran’s more truthful declarations to the IAEA nearly ten years later in 2003 and 2004.

Source » isisnucleariran