The crisis in relations with Iran escalated ominously yesterday after the leaders of the US, Britain and France accused the regime in Tehran of operating a secret uranium enrichment facility buried deep in a mountain bunker near the ancient religious city of Qom. Barack Obama called Iran’s activity “a direct challenge” to the international community.
The accusations were made public in an extraordinary joint statement by the US President, flanked by Gordon Brown and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy before the start of the G20 economic summit in Pittsburgh.
Iran had previously insisted that its plant at Natanz, which is open to international inspection, was the only one involved in enrichment. The new revelation sharply raises the stakes at a time when Israel has been signalling that military strikes against Iran are on the table.