Installation of centrifuge and other manufacturing equipment was at a preparatory stage at Fowrdow, a facility deep inside a mountain near Qom, the country’s holiest city, intelligence reports said.
Tehran disclosed the existence of Fordow, which is designed to withstand air and missile strikes, after Western intelligence detected the covert nuclear plant.
“They are preparing (for the centrifuges to be installed) in Fordow,” a diplomat briefed on the latest intelligence said.
Fereidoun Abbasi, the head of the Iranian nuclear programme, earlier this month said Iran would triple output of uranim enriched to 20 per cent, the threshold level from which a nuclear bomb – made from material enriched to 90 per cent – is relative easy to produce.
Since it raised the level of enrichment from the 3.5 per cent purity needed for normal power plant fuel to 20 per cent last year it has produced 56.7 kilogrammes, UN weapons inspectors have reported. That is about half the amount needed for a weapon.