UPDATED: “Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads — and trying to perfect them — at an underground site unknown to the West, according to a high-ranking intelligence officer of the Islamic regime,” reports Reza Kahlili, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officer who joined the CIA and became a double agent against the Iranian regime.
“The officer, who has been assigned to the Ministry of Defense, not only provided the coordinates to this vast site but also details of its operation,” Kahlili reports. “The site, approximately 14 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, consists of two facilities built deep into a mountain along with a missile facility that is surrounded by barbed wire, 45 security towers and several security posts. The new secret nuclear site, named Quds (Jerusalem), is almost 15 miles from another site, previously secret but exposed in 2009, the Fordow nuclear facility. The power to this site comes from the same source as Fordow – the Shahid Rajaei power plant – with high power towers surrounding the site. Construction of the site started about the same time as Fordow, and in the second half of 2010 all industrial tests were completed. The site became 60 percent operational in 2011.”
In an op-ed in today’s Washington Times, Kahlili writes: “Images of a secret nuclear site known as Quds…show the regime has crossed the nuclear red line. In collaboration with North Korea, it is now steps away from arming its missiles with nuclear warheads. According to information from a high-ranking intelligence officer assigned to the Ministry of Defense, the regime’s scientists have made a significant breakthrough in not only enriching to weapons grade, but have converted the highly enriched uranium into metal, a key step in building nuclear warheads. Moreover, successfully using the metal in making a neutron reflector indicates the final stages for a nuclear-weapons design that would be a two-stage, more sophisticated and much more powerful nuclear bomb.”
In my current novel series — including Damascus Countdown and the previous novel, The Tehran Initiative — fictional CIA operative David Shirazi [whose code name is “Reza Tabrizi”] is operating deep inside Iran. He exposes a previously unknown Iranian nuclear weapons facility where nine nuclear warheads were built and where Iran is clandestinely working on two dozen more, along with the missiles to fire them at Israel. To me this is a worst-case scenario, but until now it was only fiction.
Should Kahlili’s disturbing new information be verified by U.S. and Israeli intelligence, it could prove a game-changer. It would mean Iran is at — or has crossed — the “red line,” forcing President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu to take more decisive steps to neutralize the Iran threat, and more quickly that perhaps they had planned.
According to Kahlili’s information, which includes numerous satellite photos of the alleged site, “Gen. Ahmad Vahid Datjerdi, who works in the supreme leader’s office to protect the regime’s information and counterintelligence, manages the site. His deputy, Hojatolislam Ramezani, was appointed to the protection of intelligence at the Defense Ministry after several leaks about the country’s nuclear operations. Quds, built about 375 feet under the mountain and accessible by two large entrances reinforced with concrete, has 12 emergency exit tunnels and spreads around the mountain. The site has a capacity of 8,000 centrifuges and currently has three operational chambers with 19 cascades of 170 to 174 centrifuges enriching uranium. As of three months ago, the source said, there were 76 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium stock at the site and 48 kilograms of over 40 percent enriched uranium. Though the regime has long succeeded in enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is 80 percent of the way to weapons grade, enriching to over 20 percent would be a clear sign of an intention of building a nuclear bomb.”