IAEA confirms Iran started enriching uranium at Fordo plant

IAEA confirms Iran started enriching uranium at Fordo plant

The UN atomic agency confirmed Monday that Iran has started enriching uranium at a new site in a difficult-to-bomb mountain bunker, in a move set to further heighten tensions with the West, AFP reported.

"The IAEA can confirm that Iran has started the production of uranium enriched up to 20 percent... in the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant," International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor said in a statement.

"All nuclear material in the facility remains under the Agency's containment and surveillance," the Vienna-based watchdog added.

The Islamic republic admitted the existence of the facility in 2009 and earlier reports from the IAEA had said that Iranian scientists were preparing the facility to begin operations.

Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is for exclusively peaceful purposes, has repeatedly said it will not abandon uranium enrichment despite four rounds of UN Security Council resolutions calling on Tehran to desist.

While nuclear energy plants need fuel enriched to 3.5 percent, Iran says the 20-percent enriched uranium is needed for its Tehran research reactor to make isotopes to treat cancers.

Western powers, however, reject this, believing Iran has been researching ways to develop and deliver nuclear weapons, and has piled on sanction after sanction to try to halt the work.

Experts point out that the process of obtaining 20 percent enriched uranium represents most of the work needed to get the uranium enriched to the level of 90 percent or above required for atomic weapons.

Creating such fissile material is one of three main areas needed to develop a nuclear arsenal. Iran would also need to make the enriched uranium weapons-ready and manufacture a missile to carry it to target.

A report from the IAEA in November, the agency's hardest-hitting to date, included a trove of evidence that Western powers said confirmed Iranian efforts in these other two areas.

The United States, the European Union and other allies imposed tighter sanctions after the report, which Iran dismissed as "baseless".

A Western diplomat at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna told AFP that the development "serves only to increase the international community's serious concerns."

Another diplomat said it showed Iran was "completely ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions."

"I don't think this crosses a red line for other member states. But it certainly sets a worrying trend... You have to ask, when Iran says it is considering engaging (with the international community) and when it says its programme is peaceful, why they are putting something in a bunker?"

Iran's IAEA envoy, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, was not immediately available for comment.

Fordo, a reinforced facility sunk deep under a mountain 150 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Tehran, is designed to be a difficult if not impossible target to bomb.

Natanz, which is also a hardened target though more vulnerable than Fordo, is already operating with some 8,000 centrifuges working to enrich uranium.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran will not bow in the face of the sanctions, in comments broadcast on state television on Monday.

"The firm decision of the Islamic Republic is to resist the pressures" of Western governments, Khamenei said.

"While the Iranian people have travelled the road to success and see the signs of new victories to come, the (Western) oppressor is trying to frighten the Iranian people and officials by brandishing the threat of sanctions."

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Top Iran diplomat calls for lifting of sanctions, days before Vienna nuclear talks
Top Iran diplomat calls for lifting of sanctions, days before Vienna nuclear talks
Russia hopes Iran, IAEA to reach an agreement
Russia hopes Iran, IAEA to reach an agreement
Iran, IAEA to deal with technical issues of nuclear program
Iran, IAEA to deal with technical issues of nuclear program
Loading Bars
Latest
President Ilham Aliyev met with Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
President Ilham Aliyev met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon
Azerbaijan confirms 1,662 more COVID-19 cases, 2,391 recoveries
Iran wants to hold meeting of joint economic cooperation commission with Kazakhstan – FM
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 28
President Ilham Aliyev meets with Pakistani President Arif Alvi (PHOTO)
ECO must be ready for challenges of modern world - President of Kyrgyzstan
Iran interested in comprehensively developing relations with Pakistan – Raisi
Importance of Zangazur corridor is obvious - Turkish President
Iran's relations with Tajikistan to continue in full force – President of Iran
Azerbaijan's achievements highly appreciated by international institutions - President Ilham Aliyev
In total disrespect and hatred to all Muslims, Armenia destroyed and desecrated our mosques - President Ilham Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev takes part in official dinner in honor of participants of 15th Summit of Economic Cooperation Organization
Over 60% of adult population in country received two shots - Azerbaijani president
Finalists in individual trampoline among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Iran fully supports the ECO
Iran seeks to promote ties with Turkmenistan - Iranian President
Azerbaijani servicemen suffer in mine explosion in Fuzuli district
Problem loans in Azerbaijani banks decrease for year
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions continue in Baku (PHOTO)
Number of client accounts in Azerbaijani banks increases
Turkey discloses volume of cargo transshipped via Zonguldak port in 9M2021
Iran eyes increase in exports via customs of Markazi Province
Finalists in individual trampoline among men announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Close relations between Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkey are important – Iranian President
Presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan discuss current areas of bilateral relations
Azerbaijan provided financial and humanitarian assistance to about 80 countries to support their fight against coronavirus - President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan to allocate at least $1.3 billion for building new cities and towns in liberated territories in 2022 - President Ilham Aliyev
Our strategic foreign exchange reserves exceed our state external debt by over six times - President Ilham Aliyev
Over past 18 years, economy of Azerbaijan developed rapidly - President Ilham Aliyev
Finalists in double mini trampoline among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Today I can say that Zangazur corridor becomes reality - President Aliyev (FULL SPEECH)
Confident that ECO Member States will benefit from Zangazur corridor - President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijan achieved favourable investment climate as result of large-scale reforms - President Ilham Aliyev
Finalists in tumbling among men announced at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Australia confirms two cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant
Zangazur Corridor to contribute to economic development of region - Turkish FM
President Ilham Aliyev participating in 15th Summit of Heads of ECO member-states in Turkmenistan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry presents weekly review (VIDEO)
Final day of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions starts at National Gymnastics Arena in Baku (PHOTO)
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev arrives in Turkmenistan for visit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani, Iranian FMs meet at Economic Cooperation Council's meeting in Ashgabat
Georgia imposes new regulations for citizens from 8 countries
Turkey, Turkmenistan sign deals, strengthen ties in Erdoğan's visit
Indonesia bans arrivals from 8 African countries to curb Omicron variant
Volume of goods loaded/unloaded in Iranian ports up
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 volume of loans issued to energy, chemistry and natural resources decreases
Kyrgyz president leaves for Turkmenistan for working visit
Kyrgyzstan adds 41 fresh COVID-19 cases
Access to finance remains major challenge for small businesses in Georgia - IFC
847 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Parliamentary elections begin in Kyrgyzstan
Cooperation with regional countries, Iran’s top priority - İranian president
Spanish police march in Madrid to protest against 'Gag Law' reform
Storm Arwen: Third person dies as gale-force winds hit UK
U.S. imposes travel ban from eight African countries over Omicron variant
Israel to ban entry of foreigners from all countries over Omicron
Saudi Arabia allows entry of all travelers who received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Two workers die in accident preparing Spanish stadium for cup game
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on November 28
UK, Germany and Italy detect Omicron coronavirus variant cases
Results of Sochi summit fully reflect position of Azerbaijan - Russian expert
Awarding ceremony third day held as part of 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku (PHOTOS)
Winners in synchronized trampoline jumping at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku determined
Baku names winners of World Age Group Competitions in jumping on double mini-trampoline for men
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions: Russian gymnast takes first place in tumbling
Baku names winners of World Age Group Competitions in jumping on double mini-trampoline for women
Azercell announces contest on social network
Gymnast from Kazakhstan win gold in acrobatic jumping at 28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions
Best moments of third day of the World Age Group Competitions in Trampoline Gymnastics and Tumbling in Baku (PHOTOS)
World age group competition in Baku - Russian gymnast wins first place in individual trampoline jumping
Russian gymnast wins gold in individual trampoline jumping in Baku
Turkmenistan boosts imports of electrical goods from Turkey
Turkmenistan agrees to participate in Lapis-Lazuli project
Smoking to be banned in taxis in Georgia
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
11,358 people received COVID-19 vaccine in Kyrgyzstan over past day
Prepared hard for the 28th World Competition in Baku - athlete from Denmark
Finalists in synchronized trampoline jumping among men and women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Finalists in individual trampoline jumping among men announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Azerbaijan expects mutual steps from Armenia towards achieving peace - FM
Azerbaijani, Turkish FMs meet at Economic Cooperation Council's meeting in Ashgabat
Phone conversation held between Presidents of Azerbaijan and Belarus
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,617 more COVID-19 cases, 1,979 recoveries
ECO Council of FMs supports Azerbaijan's proposal to establish Clean Energy Center (PHOTO)
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange revealed
Finalists in double mini-trampoline jumping among men announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Finalists in acrobatic jumping among men named at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Azerbaijani gymnast Seljan Mahsudova reaches finals of World Age Group competition
Kazakhstani Astana- Motors to produce Hyundai cars in Uzbekistan
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for November 27
Finalists in acrobatic jumping among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
Novavax developing vaccine that targets new COVID-19 variant
Eni sells some stakes to Snam
28th FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions underway in Baku (PHOTOS)
Azerbaijan reveals financing of pensions, benefits for 9M2021
Turkish company to organize cotton-textile cluster in Uzbekistan
Finalists in double mini-trampoline among women announced at 28th FIG World Age Group Competitions in Baku
All news