Defiant Iran plans big rise in N-enrichment

Defiant Iran plans big rise in N-enrichment

“This year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency, we will transfer 20 per cent enrichment from the Natanz site to the Fordow site and we will increase the production capacity by three times,” state broadcaster IRIB quoted the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, as telling journalists after a cabinet meeting.

Iran only disclosed the existence of Fordow, a mountain bunker near the clerical city of Qom, in September 2009, after Western intelligence had detected it and said it was evidence of covert nuclear work.

The decision to move and boost production drew immediate censure from the West, which has imposed a series of sanctions on Iran to try to force it to halt enrichment — a process that can make weapons material if done to a much higher level.

Holing up in Fordow could provide greater protection for Iran’s sensitive, uranium-purifying centrifuges in the face of threatened US and Israeli air strikes.

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