Saturday, November 7, 2009

Qom nuclear site: 'It's a hole in a mountain'

According to IAEA chief Mohamded El-Baradei, UN inspectors found “nothing to be worried about” in a first look at a recently disclosed pilot uranium enrichment site in Iran last month.

El-Baradei was quoted in a New York Times interview as saying his inspectors’ initial findings at the fortified site beneath a desert mountain near the city of Qom were “nothing to be worried about.” “The idea was to use it as a bunker under the mountain to protect things,” El-Baradei, alluding to Tehran’s references to the site as a fallback for its nuclear program in case its larger Natanz enrichment plant were bombed by the United States or Israel.

“It’s a hole in a mountain,” he said.

Details of the inspection are expected to be included in the next IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear activity due in mid-November.

Gareth Porter has recently written that US threats and regional military posturing prompted Iran to initiate construction of a fortified nuclear facility at Qom. Porter's article contains a timeline with evidence (some taken from unpublicized details of the 2007 NIE), telling a different story from the West's contention that construction of a second enrichment facility began before Tehran's decision to withdraw from a previous agreement to inform the IAEA in advance of such construction. Read the entire article here.

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