Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a new underground site well protected from possible airstrikes, a leading hardline newspaper reported Sunday in another show of defiance against Western pressure to intervene in Tehran’s nuclear program.
The latest statements are certain to fuel tensions with the United Nation, the U.S. and its allies, which are trying to increase pressure on Iran with new sanctions to halt its disputed nuclear program. The West suspects Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons, but Iran denies this and says that its nuclear program is only for energy and medical research, and refuses to halt uranium enrichment.
Another leading national newspaper reported that Tehran has begun injecting uranium gas into sophisticated centrifuges at the Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom, the religious center of the country.
Built next to a military complex, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009. Buried under 90 meters of rock, the facility is a hardened tunnel and is protected by air defense missile batteries and the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force. The site is located about 32 kilometres north of Qom.
- Report: Uranium enrichment begins at new Iranian site (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Iran: Fordo uranium enrichment site runs under IAEA watch – China Daily (chinadaily.com.cn)