TEHRAN, Iran – Iran will soon install more advanced centrifuges at its new uranium enrichment site, the country’s nuclear chief said Wednesday, underscoring Tehran’s continued defiance in the face of international sanctions imposed over its controversial nuclear program.
Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi also announced that Iran plans to triple its output of the higher enriched uranium in 2011 and move the entire program to the new, secretly-built facility.
The uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Iran’s dispute with the West, which is concerned that the activity masks efforts to make nuclear weapons — a charge Tehran denies, insisting the work is peaceful and only meant to generate electricity.
Abbasi, who also heads Iran’s nuclear agency, said that Tehran would set up the more efficient centrifuges, suitable for higher-grade uranium enrichment, at the Fordo site near the holy city of Qom in central Iran.
Built next to a military complex to protect it in case of an attack, Fordo was long kept secret and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.
At the time, the labs were still under construction inside former ammunition depots carved into a mountainside. The area is heavily protected by the powerful Revolutionary Guard.
Despite four rounds of U.N. sanctions over its refusal to halt the enrichment, Iran has threatened to expand the program tenfold an… >>>