A U.S. counter-proliferation tells Newsweek that intelligence agencies have been tracking the construction of this secret Iranian facility for a matter of years. It’s built inside a mountain and has been under construction for years. It is not finished, not operational, and the earliest they think it could become operational is a year from now or longer. One of the main reasons why President Obama, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, felt it was appropriate to talk about it now is that Iran for the first time acknowledged the facility to the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this week.
Another reason they may have decided to confirm the site’s existence now is to get the story out before the Iranians get their own spin out—which could be that this place is a pilot research facility. What’s striking to US and other Western officials about the facility is its size: it’s estimated to have the capacity to hold 3000 centrifuges. The reason why the US and other countries think this facility is probably intended for producing highly-enriched uranium for weapons is that it is too small for the kind of plant that would be needed to enrich the large quantities of uranium needed for a ci… >>>