January 26, 2021

Iran US News: Iran builds underground nuclear power plant amid US tensions | World News

Dubai: Iran has begun construction on its site Underground nuclear facility Satellite photos taken Friday by the Associated Press show, amid tensions with the United States over its nuclear program in Forto.
Iran has not publicly acknowledged any new construction in Fordo, and the discovery of the West in 2009 came to the brink of an earlier round before world powers attacked the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
While the purpose of the building is unclear, any work in Forto will provoke new concerns in the fall days of the Trump administration ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Already, after a mysterious explosion in July, Iran has been building its nuclear power plant, which Tehran described as a sabotage attack.
“Any changes to this site will be carefully monitored to indicate where Iran’s nuclear program is headed,” said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert in the James Martin Center for Anthropology Studies at the Middle Bury Institute of International Studies in Iran.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has analysts in Iran as part of a nuclear deal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The IAEA has not yet made public if Iran has announced any construction on Forto.
Construction on the Forto site began in late September. Satellite images from Maxor Technologies by AP show construction under construction in the northwest corner of the site, near the holy Shiite city of Kom, 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Tehran.
The December 11 satellite image appears to be the excavated foundation for a building with dozens of pillars. Such pillars can be used in construction in support of buildings in seismic zones.
The construction site is located northwest of Forto’s underground facility, which is built deep inside a hill that protects it from possible aerial attacks. The site is close to other support and research and development buildings in Forto.
The buildings also house Iran’s National Vacuum Technology Center. Vacuum technology is a key component of Iran’s uranium-gas centrifuges, which enrich uranium.
Earlier this week, the Twitter account of Observer IL released a picture showing Fordo’s construction, citing it to be from South Korea’s Korean space research organization.
The AP then reached out to the Twitter user, who identified himself as a retiree Israeli security forces Soldier with a civil engineering background. He asked not to be named because of previous threats he received online. Korea Space Research Institute Admitted to taking satellite photos.
Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Iran’s nuclear deal in 2018, in which Tehran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for lifting sanctions. Trump cited Iran’s ballistic missile program, its regional policies and other issues with its withdrawal from the deal, although the deal focused entirely on Tehran’s nuclear program.
As the US increased sanctions, a series of events pushed both countries to the brink of war earlier this year as Iran gradually and openly abandoned the limits of the agreement. Tensions are still high.
Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium in Fordo, instead turning it into a “nuclear, physical and technological hub”.
“This place was a key point in the negotiations leading up to the Iran nuclear deal,” Lewis said. “The United States has called for the closure of Iran, while Iran’s top leader has called it a red line.
Since the collapse of the agreement, Iran has resumed enrichment there.
Protected by mountains, the facility is nurtured by anti-aircraft guns and other forts. It’s about the size of a football field, enough to hold 3,000 centrifuges, but small enough to lead U.S. officials to suspect that there was a military motive when U.S. officials publicly exposed the site in 2009.
At present, Iran is enriching uranium by 4.5%, which exceeds the limit of the agreement by 3.67%. Iran’s parliament has passed a bill that would enrich Tehran by up to 20%, a narrow technical step from 90% of arms standards. The bill would expel IAEA analysts.
Experts say Iran now has low levels of enriched uranium for at least two nuclear weapons. Iran has long maintained its nuclear program.
When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani opposed the bill, the country’s Guardian Council later amended and approved it. The bill seeks to put pressure on European countries to provide relief from the lifting of US sanctions.
Meanwhile, an Iranian scientist who developed his military nuclear program two decades ago was recently killed in a shooting outside Tehran. Iran has blamed Israel for the attack, which has long been suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists for the past decade. Israel has not commented on the attack.