Opposition: Iran consolidates nuclear bomb effort

July 22, 2011 - 12:14 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Iranian opposition group says that Tehran's leaders have created a new defense agency to consolidate nuclear weapons research.

The Mujahedin-e Khalk, (Moo-ja-ha-DEEN' ee Calk) or M-E-K, tells The Associated Press that Iran's defense ministry established the Organization for New Defense Research in March. It's led by a physicist suspected of running the country's nuclear arms development programs.

Iran has repeatedly denied it seeks nuclear weapons. The United States and others believe Iran wants the capacity to build such weapons, though it may not have decided to do so.

The M-E-K says Iran consolidated its nuclear research efforts because it believes it can continue to deny international inspectors access to sensitive sites.

Some previous M-E-K claims about Iran's nuclear program have been confirmed. Others have not.