Fury over 'secret' Iran nuclear site

Armed with the disclosure of a "secret" Iranian nuclear facility, President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain and France today demanded that Tehran fully disclose its nuclear ambitions "or be held accountable" to an impatient world community.



French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Iran has until December to comply or face new sanctions. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused Iran of "serial deception." Obama said: "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow."

Their dramatic joint statement opened the G-20 economic summit.



Obama urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate the site.

Iran has kept the facility, 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from weapons inspectors, but the US has long known of its existence, a senior White House official told The Associated Press. Obama decided to go public with the revelation after Iran learned that Western intelligence agencies were aware of the project, the official said before the joint statement.

The officials spoke on grounds of anonymity so as not to pre-empt Obama.

But a senior Iranian official told Reuters at the United Nations that accusations that a second uranium enrichment plant under construction in Iran was clandestine were "not true". He said: "If it was a covert plant, we would not have informed the (International Atomic Energy) Agency."

Obama hopes the disclosure will increase pressure on the global community to impose new sanctions on Iran if it refuses to stop its nuclear program. Beyond sanctions, the leaders' options are limited and perilous; military action by the United States or an ally such as Israel could set off a dangerous chain of events in the Islamic world.

In addition, Iran's facilities are spread around the country and well hidden, making an effective military response difficult.

While the leaders did not mention military force, Sarkozy said, "Everything, everything must be put on the table now."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called on Iran to provide "all information" about the plant "as quickly as possible." She called the disclosure "a grave development that brings us to say we are concerned and expect a swift clarification."

The disclosure comes on the heels of a UN General Assembly meeting at which Obama saw a glimmer of success in his push to rally the world against Iranian nuclear ambitions. And it comes days before Iran and six world powers are scheduled to discuss a range of issues including Tehran's nuclear program.

The US has long avoided direct talks with Tehran over its nuclear program.



"The Iranian government must now demonstrate through deeds its peaceful intentions or be held accountable to international standards and international law," Obama said.

Sarkozy and Brown struck a more defiant tone than their US counterpart.

"The level of deception by the Iranian government ... will shock and anger the whole international community, and it will harden our resolve," Brown declared, adding that it's time "to draw a line in the sand."

Hours before the joint appearance, a diplomat in Vienna and another European government official told The Associated Press that Tehran has informed the IAEA of a previously undeclared uranium enriching facility.

Those officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was confidential, said Iran revealed its existence in a letter sent Monday to Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the atomic energy agency.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made no mention of the facility this week while attending the UN General Assembly in New York, but said that his country had fully cooperated with international nuclear inspectors.

Also at the UN meeting, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened the door to backing potential new sanctions against Iran as a reward to Obama's decision to scale back a US missile shield in Eastern Europe.

Iran is under three sets of UN Security Council sanctions for refusing to freeze enrichment at what had been its single publicly known enrichment plant, which is being monitored by the IAEA.

The officials in Europe said Iran's letter contained no details about the location of the second facility, when — or if — it had started operations or the type and number of centrifuges it was running.

But one of the officials, who had access to a review of Western intelligence on the issue, said it was about 100 miles southwest of Tehran and was the site of 3,000 centrifuges that could be operational by next year.

Iranian semiofficial new agency ISNA on Friday confirmed reports on the country's second enrichment plant.

Iranian officials had previously acknowledged having only the one plant, under IAEA monitoring, and had denied allegations of undeclared nuclear activities.

An August IAEA report said Iran had set up more than 8,000 centrifuges to produce enriched uranium at its underground facility outside the southern city of Natanz. The report said that only about 4,600 centrifuges were fully active.

Iran says it has the right to enrich uranium for a nationwide chain of nuclear reactors. But because enrichment can also produce weapons-grade uranium, the international community fears Tehran will make fissile material for nuclear warheads.

Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Oxegen in Ireland has been axed as promoters decide it is 'no longer viable'
arts + ents Promoters have axed the event as it is 'no longer viable in current form'
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
people Star made the announcement during the final episode of the programme, entitled Lindsay
Life & Style
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Geography Teacher

£130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

Do you want to work in Education?

£55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players