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IAEA: Iran ready to double operative centrifuges at Fordo

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran is set to double the number of active centrifuges at an enrichment site that Israel claims has been fortified against attack.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, estimates that Iran could soon double the number of operating centrifuges at the underground Fordo nuclear site from 700 to 1,400, multiple media outlets reported last Friday.

Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, is built into a mountainside. Israeli and Western officials say the site has been fortified against attack.

According to reports, it has nearly 2,400 centrifuges.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran could be poised to manufacture a nuclear weapon as soon as the spring. Israel favors a military strike if diplomatic and economic efforts to stop the suspected weapons program fail.

President Obama said this week that he had a "window" of several months to bring about a diplomatic solution.

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