PITTSBURGH, Sept. 25 (UPI) — The United States, Britain and France planned to accuse Iran of building a secret underground plant to manufacture nuclear fuel, a White House official said.
The accusation was to be made in a statement Friday before the start of Group of 20 economic summit sessions in Pittsburgh, The New York Times reported.
U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy were expected to demand that Iran allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to conduct an inspection of the facility immediately, the aide said. The three leaders were expected to say the enrichment plant, reportedly 100 miles from Tehran, has been hidden from inspectors for years.
U.S. officials say they’ve been following the project for years, but Obama chose to make the information public because Iran recently discovered intelligence agencies penetrated the secrecy surrounding the project, the Times said.
Iranian officials earlier this week sent a letter to the IAEA saying the country had a pilot plant under construction but had never before revealed its existence, the Times said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not mention the plant during his visit to the United Nations, where he restated his view that Iran has cooperated with inspectors.
The newly discovered enrichment plant isn’t operational but could be in a year, U.S. officials said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International