IAEA: Iran doubles underground nuclear capacity

August 30, 2012 19:05

VIENNA, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Iran is preparing for a possible major expansion of uranium enrichment in a fortified underground facility, a UN nuclear watchdog report showed, underlining Tehran's defiance in the face of Western pressure and the threat of an Israeli attack.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency report also said "extensive activities" - a reference to suspected sanitisation efforts - at Iran's Parchin military complex would hamper its investigation of possible past nuclear weapons development work there, if inspectors were granted access.

The number of enrichment centrifuges at Fordow, buried deep inside a mountain to better protect it against any enemy strikes, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May, showed the quarterly report released on Thursday. However, the new machines were not yet operating, it said.

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