Iran confirms factory producing centrifuge parts

AFP – April 9, 2011

Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday confirmed claims by an exiled Iranian opposition group that a factory west of Tehran is manufacturing centrifuge parts, but said the facility was no secret and that many other factories in the counrty were making components for Iran’s nuclear program.

The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi came two days after the Mujahedeen-e Khalq announced at a press conference in Washington that its spies identified the factory, called the TABA facility, saying workers there produced centrifuge casings, molecular pumps, tubes and bellows for the centrifuges.

Iran has long said it is producing its own centrifuges for its uranium enrichment program. Enrichment can produce either fuel for a nuclear reactor or the material for a nuclear warhead.

Salehi said the factory referred to by the Mujahedeen “is not a new discovery … we are manufacturing parts there and this is nothing confidential.”

“There are plenty of factories in the country that supply the equipment needed by … the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran,” he said Saturday, according to the state news agency IRNA.

Tehran contends its nuclear program is intended only for a civilian nuclear power program. The United States and its allies suspect it seeks the capacity to build nuclear bombs, and the United Nations has demanded Iran halt enrichment.