VIENNA - Iran could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a development likely to add to tension between Tehran and the West.
Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic state to begin higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.
Iran's decision last year to raise the level of some enrichment from the 3.5 percent purity needed for normal power plant fuel to 20 percent worried Western states that saw this as bringing it significantly closer to the 90 percent needed for a bomb. Iran says the material will help fuel a research reactor.
Iran's main enrichment plant is located near the central town of Natanz. But the country said in June it would shift its higher-grade activity to Fordow, offering better protection from any military attack, and also sharply boost output capacity