UN: Iran is enriching uranium at secret site (TELEGRAPH UK) By David Blair 02/25/12)
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Iran must address “serious concerns” about “possible military
dimensions” to its nuclear programme after significantly escalating
its ability to enrich uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency
The latest report by United Nations experts disclosed a 42 per cent
rise in the number of operational centrifuges enriching uranium
inside the Natanz facility in the last four months.
Work inside a second, previously secret enrichment plant has also
been stepped up, with 698 centrifuges operating inside the Fordow
installation near Qom, a 69 per cent increase on the number recorded
during the last inspection in October.
Meanwhile, the IAEA said that Iran had declined to offer full co-
operation to its inspectors when they visited the country earlier
this month. In particular, they were prevented from visiting a
military location at Parchin, where experiments that would only be
relevant to mastering the detonation system of nuclear weapons are
understood to have been conducted. It bemoaned bemoaned "major
differences" with Iran after two fruitless visits.
Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, said that he
was “very concerned about the latest report from the IAEA”,
adding: “We think Iran should understand the key to ending sanctions
is in their own hands: they have a duty to co-operate with the
The latest report by the IAEA is likely to deepen Israel’s fears
about Iran’s intentions, particularly the build-up of centrifuges in
the Fordow facility, which is dug into a mountainside and could be
immune from military attack.
The IAEA reported that 8,808 centrifuges were functioning inside
Natanz, compared with 6,208 on its last visit, although the report
cautioned that not all of the machines may have been working. Iran’s
experts had also installed the casings for another 6,177 centrifuges.
Six UN resolutions say that Iran should stop enriching uranium, a
highly sensitive process that could be used to make the essential
material for a nuclear weapon.
This sudden rise in the number of operational centrifuges shows that,
on the contrary, Iran is stepping up its enrichment capacity.
However, the IAEA also reported that all of the machines in the main
enrichment halls of both Natanz and Fordow were older IR-1 models,
contradicting claims by Iranian officials, including President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that the country’s experts were now operating
large numbers of more advanced models.
The report voiced disappointment about the last official visit by
inspectors to Iran, noting that they were denied access to a key
location and that no agreement had been reached on how to resolve any
of the outstanding issues.
“As Iran is not providing the necessary co-operation, including by
not implementing its additional protocol, the agency is unable to
provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear
material and activities,” said the report.
Consequently, the IAEA was unable to “conclude that all nuclear
material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” Instead, the
IAEA “continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military
dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme.”
Yukiya Amano, head of the IAEA, urged Iran to “address the agency’s
serious concerns” and allow inspectors to visit Parchin.
However, Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, said that
Western concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions was a cover for the
real objective of toppling the Tehran regime. (© Copyright of
Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012. 02/25/12)
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