U.S. was aware of ‘new’ Iranian nuke site for years

(source: CNN)
Saturday, September 26, 2009

        Editor's note: Iran has acted completely legally by informing the IAEA of the construction of the Qom nuclear plant 18 months before it is due to become operational. IAEA requires notification only six months ahead of any nuclear material being introduced in the site.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The United States was aware of Iran’s unfinished uranium enrichment site for several years, senior U.S. officials told CNN on Friday.

U.S. officials have known about the facility since President George W. Bush’s administration, according to the officials who declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

Iran came to realize fairly recently that the facility was no longer secret, so Washington found itself in a race with Iran to reveal the facility to the international community, the officials said.

Iran revealed the site’s existence in a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Monday, the agency confirmed Friday.

That letter led the Obama administration to provide intelligence on the site to its allies — including China and Russia, in an attempt to get the two countries to support sanctions on Iran.

It was also the impetus for Washington to work with Britain, France and Germany to put together a highly-detailed presentation to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday, the officials said.

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