Outspoken Christian Quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the National Football League on Friday, thanking God for the opportunities he received both on and off the field.
“As always, as it started in 1999 when I was up on the podium holding up a trophy, the first thing I want to do is give thanks to God,” Warner said during a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., referring to his widely-heard shot out to the Almighty following his Super Bowl win with the St. Louis Rams.
“My Lord Jesus brought me here. I know he brought me here for a purpose. And it’s been an amazing ride,” he added.
Though Hall of Fame-bound Warner stands out as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history – with an impressive list of achievements that includes three MVP awards, a Super Bowl win, and the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history – Warner is most noted for his King David-esque rise to stardom, which was twice witnessed.
Not only did Warner go from stocking shelves at a grocery store in 1994 to a winning a Super Bowl in 2000, he also returned to the spotlight after his time appeared to be up, leading the Arizona Cardinals to the franchises’ first-ever Super Bowl in 2009.
“I don’t think I could have dreamt out that it would have played out as it had. But I’ve been humbled everyday that I’ve woke up for the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me to do what He’s given me the opportunity to do over 12 years,” Warner said Friday.
But the one-time Super Bowl MVP made it clear that the opportunities he was given were not only on the football field. For him, it’s not just about the successes and the Super Bowls and the wins and the losses.
“[I]t’s also been the opportunities that He (God)’s given to me off the football field,” Warner stated.
Since his rise to stardom, Warner has been a featured speaker across the country for numerous churches, non-profit organizations, men’s conferences, and corporate events.
Warner’s work both on and off the field, meanwhile, resulted in him being awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2008 and the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award in 2009. Warner was also selected by USA Weekend as the winner of its annual Most Caring Athlete Award for 2009 and, just last month, topped a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players to name the best role model on and off the field in the NFL.
First Things First Foundation, a non-profit public charity that he and his wife established in 2001, has been involved with numerous projects for causes such as children’s hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and assisting single parents.
“So I hope that when people think back over my career – maybe it’s just over the next couple of weeks as they reflect on it or maybe it’s years to come – that that’s what they remember more than anything else,” Warner said Friday.
“Not the way I threw the football, not particular games that I won. But that they remember that here’s a guy that believed, that worked hard, and – although things didn’t always go in his favor – he continued to press through. And with his faith in himself and with his faith in God, he was able to accomplish great things,” he concluded.
As for his future plans, Warner said earlier at the press conference that he’s just as excited about the next 12 years as he has the past “12 unbelievable years – 12 of the best years of my life.”
“I’m excited about what lies in front of me. I’m excited about spending more time with my family and seeing what God’s going to do next,” he reported.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Warner will keep his charitable foundation going, perhaps do some speaking, writing, ministry work, and maybe some football analyst work on TV or radio.
First Things First Foundation, which draws its name from Warner’s famed post-Super Bowl response in 2000, is dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities “to encourage everyone that all things are possible when people seek to put first things first.”
The charity’s guiding principle is Matthew 6:33, which states “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
By Michelle A. Vu
After nine months in prison, the two young female converts who have gained international attention were freed Wednesday afternoon in Iran, sources inside the country reported.
Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 30, were released at 3:30 p.m. local time without bail, according to Elam Ministries. They are currently at home with their family, but could face more court hearings in the future.
“Words are not enough to express our gratitude to the Lord and to His people who have prayed and worked for our release,” they said, according to Elam.
“Praise the Lord for the great news out of Iran today of the release of Maryam and Marzieh. Literally millions of Christians around the world have been praying for their release.”
But Moeller warned that the two converts’ future remains “uncertain” so Christians must continue to pray for them and other persecuted believers in Iran.
The two young females were arrested March 5 on charges of anti-state activity and “taking part in illegal gatherings” due to their involvement in house church activities. They were detained in Evin prison, the notorious facility known for its human rights violation and capital punishment, while their trial took place in Tehran.
Reports indicate that they were pressured by the judge to denounce their Christian faith and return toIslam. However, the women refused to deny Jesus Christ as their savior and as a result were sent back to prison for several more months.
At the Aug. 9 court hearing, they had told the judge, “We love Jesus,” “Yes, we are Christians,” and “We will not deny our faith.” At an Oct. 7 hearing, they then learned about the addition of a third charge against them – apostasy. However, the new judge was sympathetic to their case and acquitted them of anti-state activities, which rarely happens.
Their case was then transferred from the revolutionary court to the civil court.
During their detainment, the women suffered psychological abuse, including sleep deprivation and intense interrogation for hours at a time. They also had health problems but were denied medical attention. Amirizadeh suffered from a previous spinal condition, but received no medical attention. She also had an infected tooth but was only given painkillers.
“Maryam and Marzieh have greatly inspired us all,” said Sam Yeghnazar, director of Elam Ministries. “Their love for the Lord Jesus and their faithfulness to God has been an amazing testimony.”
Open Doors noted that Iranian authorities are prone to release detained Christians and then summon them to court hearings or force them to sign restricting documents. The ministry cautioned that though the women were freed from jail it does not mean they are “living in complete freedom.”
Christians are asked to pray for the women’s health to be fully restored and for their continual freedom.
By Peter Ford
BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Ministry briefings are generally pretty dull affairs, the way such events are in many countries: reporters do their best to get the spokesman to say something newsworthy, and the spokesman does his best not to oblige them.
On Thursday, though, Qin Gang inadvertently broke the mold. He said that Barack Obama, being a black president who admired Abraham Lincoln’s role in abolishing slavery and preserving the Union, should sympathize with Beijing’s opposition to the Dalai Lama.
He seemed to be making two points. The first was that President Obama’s skin color should make him especially sensitive to slavery; the Chinese government refers to Tibetan society before Chinese troops took over Lhasa in 1951 as serfdom.
The second was that Obama should learn a lesson from Lincoln’s opposition to secession, and support Beijing’s opposition to the Dalai Lama, whom the government here accuses of “splittism.”
Leave aside the fact that the Dalai Lama has repeated until he is blue in the face that he does not support Tibetan independence – only autonomy. Leave aside the fact that Obama has no slaves in his lineage.
The ministry’s spokesman appeared to be trying to make foreign audiences believe that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the moral equivalent of Abraham Lincoln, and that the Dalai Lama is a supporter of feudal serfdom.
Considering that most people outside this country’s borders see the CPC as the ones restricting freedoms, and regard the Dalai Lama as a moral giant, Mr. Qin showed a lot of nerve.
Nerve is a valuable quality in a press spokesman, of course. But Qin’s allusions to US history also displayed a complete disregard for – or misunderstanding of – how most of the rest of the world views the Tibetan issue.
Given that the Foreign Ministry is meant to be the agency of the Chinese government that is best informed about the outside world, and given that its spokesman is meant to be one of its diplomats best qualified to win foreign reporters over, that is worrying.
Ultimate 5th column penetration, warns best-selling ‘Muslim Mafia’
“Muslims should stand up and fight the aggressor.” That’s what Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan said about America before he and possibly other Muslim soldiers at Fort Hood shot 43 fellow soldiers, killing 12, who were returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He said Muslims had a right to attack” the U.S., said Col. Terry Lee, who worked with Hasan at the Texas post, where the devout Sunni Muslim refused deployment. “He said Muslims shouldn’t be fighting Muslims,” he added. “He was very clear on that.”
Shockingly, a growing number of other Muslim American soldiers as well as civilian contractors have put their religion before their duty. Some like Hasan have killed, or tried to kill, their fellow soldiers. Others have infiltrated the military in order to undermine it and aid and comfort the enemy.
According to an explosive new book, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” Hasan is just the tip of a jihadist Fifth Column operating within the ranks of the U.S. military – which is too blinded by political correctness to see the threat.
Quoting from a classified military briefing, “Muslim Mafia” reveals that this Fifth Column has penetrated “every branch of the U.S. military.” The Islamist enemy has even infiltrated the al-Qaida detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Security officials at Gitmo have been investigating a possible new spy ring involving several “dirty” Arabic linguists who are accused among other things of:
- omitting valuable intelligence from their translations of detainee interrogations;
- slipping notes to detainees inside copies of the Quran;
- coaching detainees to make allegations of abuse against interrogators; and
- meeting with suspects on the terrorist watchlist while traveling back in the United States.
More than 75 former Gitmo detainees have returned to the battlefield or anti-American jihad. Some met with the suspect Muslim translators. Others were privately counseled by chaplains also under investigation for security breaches.
Gitmo security officials recently met with FBI agents in Philadelphia to aid their investigation into one of the Muslim linguists under contract at Gitmo, according to sources quoted in the book who are familiar with the investigation.
They also this summer briefed members of Congress about the prison camp’s internal security breaches, according to “Muslim Mafia,” which is co-authored by former federal agent P. David Gaubatz and investigative journalist Paul Sperry, author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington,” which is being used by law enforcement and the military.
“Three years of investigations have revealed the presence of pro-jihad/anti-Western activities among the civilian contractor and military linguist population serving Joint Task Force Guantanamo,” states a copy of the classified Gitmo briefing, which was prepared in May 2009 for the FBI and CIA, as well as the congressional intelligence committees.
The report explains that dirty Arabic linguists have gathered classified data involving detainees, interrogations and security operations in an effort to “disrupt” Gitmo operations and U.S. “intelligence-collection capabilities.”
It goes on to specifically finger the Muslim Brotherhood, which it calls a terrorist group, in the conspiracy. The Muslim Brotherhood and its U.S. operations and front groups are the subject of “Muslim Mafia.”
“These actions are deliberate, carefully planned, global, and to the benefit of the detainees and multiple terrorist organizations, to include al-Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood,” the briefing states, according to the bestselling book.
The enemy infiltration is not limited to Guantanamo.
The report strongly suggests that Islamist spies have penetrated nearly every sensitive U.S. security agency involved in the war on terror, potentially compromising intelligence government-wide.
“Persons participating in this activity move regularly between multiple contracting companies, various intelligence agencies in the U.S. government [FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.], and every branch of the U.S. military.”
The investigation comes on the heels of a major Muslim espionage ring that the FBI broke up at Gitmo in 2004.
A former Army Muslim chaplain was charged with espionage, mishandling classified documents, and lying to investigators, and served hard time in the stockade. Two of his Muslim brothers at Gitmo, both Arabic interpreters, were convicted of stealing or mishandling classified documents.
Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood terrorist, is a U.S. citizen whose Palestinian parents emigrated from the West Bank.
Col. Lee said Hasan complained about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He had hoped President Obama would quickly end them, but when they “didn’t come to a quick end, he got more agitated.”
This summer, Lee says he overheard Hasan praise the Muslim who shot two soldiers at a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark.
“He was happy” about it, Lee said in an interview with Fox News. “He said ‘Maybe we should have more of these people. Maybe people should strap [on] bombs and go into town squares.’”
There are some 40 Muslims at Fort Hood, and an estimated 15,000 Muslims serving throughout the U.S. armed forces.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations cautioned against a rush to judgment about the shooter’s motives.
“The motive of the attacker is not yet known,” insisted CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. (The FBI recently cut off ties to the Washington-based group after identifying it as a front group for Hamas terrorists in the largest terror finance case in U.S. history. CAIR and its founding chairman were named unindicted terrorist co-conspirators in the case.)
But other current and former Muslims, who oppose CAIR and dispute its claims to representing American Muslims, say the shooter’s motive is clear: violent jihad in the name of radical Islam.
“America needs to awaken from its sleep and its unwillingness to face the issue of fundamentalist Islam in our midst which undoubtedly is the cause of the tragedy in Fort Hood,” said Walid Shoebat, a former Islamist terrorist.
“Some very serious decisions need to [be] made when it comes to having Muslims protecting our country, as it is impossible to know whether they may be honorable or foxes in the hen house.”
America reacts to Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize
By Drew Zahn
“It’s not April 1, is it?” a White House aide reportedly asked ABC’s Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
In an official statement, the president says he was “most surprised and deeply humbled.”
Others have expressed similar shock that Obama, in office for less than 10 months, had been awarded the prize. Underlying the shock is the fact that the deadline for filing nominations for the award is Feb. 1 of any given year, meaning the president was nominated after being in office for just 11 days.
“The real question Americans are asking is, ‘What has President Obama actually accomplished?’” said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights.”
A shocked Michael Savage further blasted the Nobel Prize committee for its choice:
“What has [Obama] done? Has he discovered a cure for brain cancer I don’t know about?” the talk radio host asked in a Newsweek interview. “We all know what the Nobel Prize committee is ever since Yasir Arafat won. It’s a radical leftist front group that hijacked Alfred Nobel’s prize.”
Fellow radio talker Rush Limbaugh also heaped on criticism, stating that awarding the prize to such an unaccomplished president is a “greater embarrassment” than Obama’s recent failed bid to bring the Olympic Games to Chicago.
“This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama,” Limbaugh told POLITICO in an e-mail. “And with this ‘award’ the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States.”
Limbaugh continued, “They love a weakened, neutered U.S., and this is their way of promoting that concept.”
Other reactions, however, have been glowing:
“Obama got the prize not for doing, but for being. Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage – the politics of dignity,” wrote Robert Fuller, former president of Oberlin College, on the Huffington Post. “What is dignitarian politics? It is the recognition that people the world over actually want dignity more than they want either liberty or equality. In policy terms, it means ensuring dignity for all – within and among nations.”
Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement, “We are pleased that our president has been awarded one of the highest honors for any world leader. Under president Obama’s leadership, our nation is beginning to restore its international image as a beacon of peace and justice.”
He continued, “CAIR and the American Muslim community stand ready to partner with President Obama in promoting the ‘mutual interest and mutual respect’ he mentioned in his inaugural address.”
WND readers have sent in their share of comments, too.
“To the best of my knowledge, no American President in modern history with no significant foreign policy experience, no major world-shaking legislation to his credit as a junior senator with two years of experience and only a few weeks in office as president before the deadline for nominations ended has won a Nobel Peace Prize,” writes WND reader Geoffrey Cox. “Surely this could only be accomplished either by a figure of deity, or by the voting of some incredibly stupid or corrupt Norwegians – I’m going with the latter.”
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award, after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the former in the fifth year of his presidency for negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese war and the latter in the sixth year of his administration, largely for his role in establishing the League of Nations.
Other WND readers have also taken exception to awarding the Nobel Prize to a president with few international accomplishments:
- “The Nobel Peace Prize nine months into his term for … what?” asks WND reader Henry Frickel. “That’s like giving me, a guy who barely knows how to cut-and-paste and thinks Excel is something you do with that pedal on the right, the Computer World ‘Techie of the Year Award.’”
- “Obama winning the Nobel, what a joke!” scoffed reader Sherry Perkins. “How do you win a Nobel Prize for peace when you have troops killing people in another country?”
- “Has President Obama reduced standing armies? Did he speak out for the peace process when thousands of Iranians were slaughtered in the streets? No,” writes reader Louis Frederick. “He managed to convince most the world that America is arrogant, uncaring and not worthy of the superpower status we once held. He stood with hands on hips while Russia rolled over the democratic state of Georgia, and the reward was the removal of a missile shield from Czechoslovakia. He flaps lips while Iran is feverishly working on nuclear weapons to bring ‘peace’ to the Middle East by destroying the democratic state of Israel. Ludicrous.”
- R.C. Rochte comments, “So, ‘The One’ has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (on credit for more surrenders of American sovereignty in the future, no doubt).”
Other reactions from around the country have challenged Obama’s merit for the award, not on his resume but on his politics. Judie Brown, president of American Life League, released the following statement:
“Bestowing the Nobel Prize on the most rabid pro-abortion president in history is a direct slap in the face to past recipient, Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, upon receiving her Nobel Peace Prize: ‘the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing – direct murder by the mother herself.’” Brown said. “In awarding the prize to Obama, the Nobel Committee is announcing that abortion is the cornerstone of a hellish ‘peace’ – the damning silence of 51 million aborted children in the United States alone.”
She concluded, “The Nobel Committee has bestowed the ‘Peace Prize’ on a man dedicated to war in the womb.”
Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, however, defended the choice – even stating the vote was unanimous – on ABC’s “Good Morning America”:
“President Obama has changed very dramatically international politics,” Lundestad said. “We feel he has emphasized multilateral diplomacy, he has addressed international institutions, dialogue negotiations. He has inspired the world with his vision of a world without nuclear arms. He has changed the U.S. policy dramatically. There’s a whole list.”
As for the president himself, Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, “I do not feel I deserve to be in the company of so many transformative figures who have been honored by this prize.”
“I also know this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women … want to build,” Obama said of the prize committee. “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership.”
He concluded, “I will accept this award as a call to action.”
By JOSIAH DANIEL RYAN
A popular Hamas children’s program that usually gives advice to youngsters, such as instructing them to listen to their parents, aired a call for the “slaughter” of Jews in Israel late last month, according to Palestinian Media Watch.
All Jews must be “erased from our land,” Nassur, a stuffed bear who hosts the weekly program, Tomorrow’s Pioneers, on Hamas’s Al-Aksa television, explained to a child who called in to a September 22 show. “We want to slaughter them, Saraa, so they will be expelled from our land… we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter.”
Nan Jacques Zilberdik, an analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, which translated the program and regularly monitors Palestinian media, said Tomorrow’s Pioneers, which comes out of the Gaza Strip, is available via satellite around the world. The program often blends pragmatic advice with hate, she said.
“Generally the program also transmits good messages to kids like drinking milk or asking parents permission to do something, but we also find these very problematic messages like the call to kill Jews,” she said.
Furthermore, Zilberdik said that in her organization’s broader monitoring of Palestinian media, no objections to or repudiation of hatred-inciting messages being included in children’s programs had been found.
This is not the first time Palestinian Media Watch has discovered hateful content in programs made for children.
After worldwide outcry, the character was executed on the program by an Israeli interrogator, and was soon replaced by another character who expressed similar sentiments, Zilberdik said.
The following comes from a transcript of the program aired on September 22:
Nassur: “There won’t be any Jews or Zionists, if Allah wills. They’ll be erased.”
Saraa: “Chased away.”
Nassur: “And just like we will visit the Qaaba [in Mecca]… everyone will visit Jerusalem.”
(A seven-year-old boy on the phone tells how his father, a member of Hamas’s Izzadin Kassam Brigades, “died as a shahid (martyr).”)
Nassur to boy: “What do you want to do to the Jews who shot your father?”
Boy: “I want to kill them.”
Saraa: “We don’t want to do anything to them, just expel them from our land.”
Nassur: “We want to slaughter (nidbah-hom) them, so they will be expelled from our land, right?”
Saraa: “Yes. That’s right. We will expel them from our land using all means.”
Nassur: “And if they don’t want [to go] peacefully, by words or talking, we’ll have to [do it] by slaughter (shaht).”
(Al-Aksa (Hamas) TV, September 22, 2009)
By Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots. A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
The short note scrawled on the card suggests his family changed its name to Ahmadinejad when they converted to embrace Islam after his birth.
The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad’s birthplace, and the name derives from “weaver of the Sabour”, the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran‘s Ministry of the Interior.
Experts last night suggested Mr Ahmadinejad’s track record for hate-filled attacks on Jews could be an overcompensation to hide his past.
Ali Nourizadeh, of the Centre for Arab and Iranian Studies, said: “This aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad’s background explains a lot about him.
“Every family that converts into a different religion takes a new identity by condemning their old faith.
“By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society.”
A London-based expert on Iranian Jewry said that “jian” ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews.
“He has changed his name for religious reasons, or at least his parents had,” said the Iranian-born Jew living in London. “Sabourjian is well known Jewish name in Iran.”
A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in London said it would not be drawn on Mr Ahmadinejad’s background. “It’s not something we’d talk about,” said Ron Gidor, a spokesman.
The Iranian leader has not denied his name was changed when his family moved to Tehran in the 1950s. But he has never revealed what it was change from or directly addressed the reason for the switch.
Relatives have previously said a mixture of religious reasons and economic pressures forced his blacksmith father Ahmad to change when Mr Ahmadinejad was aged four.
The Iranian president grew up to be a qualified engineer with a doctorate in traffic management. He served in the Revolutionary Guards militia before going on to make his name in hardline politics in the capital.
During this year’s presidential debate on television he was goaded to admit that his name had changed but he ignored the jibe.
However Mehdi Khazali, an internet blogger, who called for an investigation of Mr Ahmadinejad’s roots was arrested this summer.
Mr Ahmadinejad has regularly levelled bitter criticism at Israel, questioned its right to exist and denied the Holocaust. British diplomats walked out of a UN meeting last month after the Iranian president denounced Israel’s ‘genocide, barbarism and racism.’
Benjamin Netanyahu made an impassioned denunciation of the Iranian leader at the same UN summit. “Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium,” he said. “A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies the murder of six million Jews while promising to wipe out the State of Israel, the State of the Jews. What a disgrace. What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations.”
Mr Ahmadinejad has been consistently outspoken about the Nazi attempt to wipe out the Jewish race. “They have created a myth today that they call the massacre of Jews and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets,” he declared at a conference on the holocaust staged in Tehran in 2006.
By Edward Cody
PARIS, Sept. 24 — An Iranian exile group said Thursday that it has identified two previously unknown sites in and near Tehran where it says Iranian scientists are researching and trying to manufacture detonators for nuclear weapons.
The allegation, from the Paris-based Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK, was designed to reinforce the exiles’ long-standing contention that the Iranian government, despite repeated denials, has an active program to develop a nuclear arsenal under the aegis of the Defense Ministry and the Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The announcement was timed to coincide with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s appearance at the U.N. General Assembly and with intensified pressure from the United States and other major powers for Iran to allow full inspection of its nuclear-related facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
There was no way to confirm the authenticity of Thursday’s allegation. But previous MEK information has given Western intelligence agencies tips about some Iranian nuclear activities or provided details about research sites.
Mehdi Abrishamchi, an MEK activist, said that as far as he knew, no Western governments were aware of the existence of the two sites.
As did Ahmadinejad in interviews Wednesday, Iran repeatedly has denied a desire to acquire nuclear weapons and says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy use. According to statements from Iranian officials, activities connected to making nuclear weapons were halted several years ago.
But Abrishamchi said the two sites house programs designed to research and produce high-explosive detonators for atomic bombs.
The information came from “dozens of sources at different levels of the Iranian regime’s various organs” and was cross-checked with dozens more, he said in a statement.
Abrishamchi, a senior member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an MEK-run umbrella group, said the two sites were part of a complex known as METFAZ — the Farsi acronym for Research Center for Explosion and Impact — that apparently has been in operation for several years under the command of the Defense Ministry.
The first site, a research and administrative facility in eastern Tehran, was bought by the Defense Ministry under the name of Massoud Sadighi Divani, a senior ministry official, Abrishamchi said. Inside, scientists carry out computer simulations and other experiments to reach an effective design for high-explosive impact and penetration devices that could serve to detonate a nuclear weapon, he said.
The second site, about 20 miles to the east, is used to manufacture parts needed to construct the detonators, he said. Lying within a military zone with restricted access, it is surrounded by high concrete walls and includes tunnels dug into a nearby hill, he added.
Abrishamchi said the two sites basically continue work that was being done at Shian, a facility that was razed by Iranian authorities after being denounced by the MEK in 2003. He called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to try to inspect the sites as quickly as possible.