On July 29, 2008, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa reported that, according to "highly reliable sources," Iranian authorities had begun construction of a secret nuclear reactor in the Al-Zarqan region close to the city of Ahwaz in southwest Iran, on the Iran-Iraq border.
The paper said that according to sources, Iran was working to distance its nuclear installations from international oversight. The English version of the report, published in the Kuwaiti Arab Times, said, "Disclosing [that] Tehran directed international A-bomb inspectors to other places, sources warned [that] the project poses a very serious threat to international security."
Also according to the sources, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not know about this site at all, since it was not included in negotiations with Iran in Geneva held in early July.
According to the report, the sources said that during 2000-2003, Iran expropriated the lands and homes of thousands of Arab citizens from the Al-Zarqan region, destroying homes of thousands of Arab citizens from the Al-Zarqan region.
Destroyed homes, fields, orchards, and wells, and built a three-meter-high wall around the project site, which allegedly measures hundreds of kilometers.
The report also said that "the construction of the reactor began with the laying of a pipeline for fresh water from the [nearby] Karoun River to the site, and the expansion of the Al-Zarqan power station."
Also, the sources said that "the construction works seem to be routine and do not arouse attention, but the tight security around the region is what arouses suspicions regarding the nature of the work." They added that the site is guarded by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) personnel, reflecting its importance and sensitivity.
IRGC Commander's Letter to Construction Company: Maintain Complete Secrecy
In its report, Al-Siyassa included a letter dated April 7, 2008 from the office of the assistant of IRGC commander in Al-Ahwaz city Brig. Hassan Jalaliyan, marked "highly confidential," to Mohammed Kayafir, manager of the Mehab Qudus Company for Construction and Supervision, which is building the reactor. The following is a translation of the letter:
"From the IRGC Commander in the city of Al-Ahwas to the director in charge at the Mehab Qudus company for Construction and Supervision Mr. Mohammed Kayafir
"Re: The nuclear reactor at Al-Zarqan
"I thank you for the good services of the Mehab Qudus company, and at the same time I must remind you of the following items:
"1. All construction materials must be transported from the warehouses to the construction site in top secrecy.
"2. As part of the doctrine of caution, we reiterate yet again that during the transport of all required materials, you must ensure that this [transport] does not arouse the suspicions of any citizen in the region through which you are moving.
"3. In general, it is absolutely forbidden to hire any Arabic speakers or any citizen from Khozestan in the framework of the 'Al-Zarqan Nuclear Reactor' construction project. You must ensure that all manpower, including the driver, the accountant, the warehouse manager, the laborer, the technician, or the guard, comes from the northern provinces.
"In conclusion, we say yet again that all the construction work in this project must be carried out under absolute secrecy.
"From the aide to IRGC commander in the city of Al-Ahwaz, Hassan Jalaliyan."
Below is an image of the document, as it appeared in the Al-Siyassa report:
An Ideal Place to Build a Nuclear Reactor – The Local Residents Can Serve as a Human Shield
Al-Siyassa also reported that the "National Society for Arabstan State took satellite pictures of the location, which looked perfect for the construction of a secret nuclear reactor..." It added, "The site is more suitable for building a nuclear reactor than Bushehr, which is close to American bases." It noted that a nuclear power plant under construction at Darkhovin is in an open area on the main road between Ahwaz and Abadan – while the "Al-Zarqan nuclear reactor is in the middle of very highly populated areas, making it a very difficult target due to a possibility that the Iranian authorities will use civilians as human shields."
On January 31, 2008, the Iran Daily wrote that Iranian Atomic Energy Organization deputy head Ahmad Fayyazbakhsh had said that the nuclear power plant at Darkhovin, in southwestern Iran, would become operational in 2016.
Below is the satellite photo published by Al-Siyassa:
 Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), July 29, 2008,
 Arab Times (Kuwait), July 29, 2008, http://www.arabtimesonline.com/kuwaitnews/pagesdetails.asp?nid=20349&ccid=9 (the text has been lightly edited for clarity).