Iran Has Opened a New Uranium Enrichment Site

A news agency within the country says it has a new, bomb-proof location from which to improve nuclear fuel.

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Iran has developed a new, bomb-proof facility for enriching uranium, which can be used as fuel for nuclear power generation but also as a potential fuel for nuclear weapons. The report from a state news service, reported by the Associated Press, said that uranium gas was being enriched in a facility called Fordo, near Qom.

Kayhan daily, which is close to Iran’s ruling clerics, said Tehran has begun injecting uranium gas into sophisticated centrifuges at the Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom.

“Kayhan received reports yesterday that show Iran has begun uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility amid heightened foreign enemy threats,” the paper said in a front-page report. Kayhan’s manager is a representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But Iran’s nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi said late Saturday that his country will “soon” begin enrichment at Fordo. It was impossible to immediately reconcile the two reports.

The facility is reportedly more protected from an aerial attack than Iran's enrichment plants at Natanz, which have also been hit with viral attacks believed to have originated with Israel, and aimed at halting the development of nuclear weapons.

The latest development in Iran's apparent pursuit of nuclear weapons comes as the nation is threatening a more old-school provocation: closing the Strait of Hormuz to international traffic, which would severely curtail the flow of oil to international markets. One-sixth of the world's oil, the AP notes, comes to market through the Strait of Hormuz.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.