U.N. watchdog: Iran may have other nuke sites

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Iran could have other undisclosed nuclear facilities, according to a new report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

In their report released Monday, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors who visited a recently disclosed Iranian underground nuclear enrichment plant last month said the site was built to hold 3,000 centrifuges — enough to enrich uranium for one to two nuclear weapons a year, but not enough to support a civilian nuclear power program, according to The New York Times. 

The IAEA report said the construction of the underground site, near the holy city of Qom, was far along but did not yet contain centrifuges or nuclear material. Iranian officials told the inspectors that the facility would begin operation in 2011, according to Reuters.

The officials also said that the underground site had been built to preserve what Iran called its civilian nuclear enrichment program if its Natanz facility was bombed by Israel.

Iran disclosed the location of the underground site in September, some seven years after the start of construction.

The report said that the discovery of the new facility "reduces the level of confidence in the absence of other nuclear facilities under construction, and gives rise to questions about whether there were any other nuclear facilities in Iran which had not been declared to the agency.”

The New York Times reported Monday that nuclear experts believe that there is likely a network of nuclear facilities throughout Iran designed to provide raw nuclear fuel to the Qom facility. 
 

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