Iran doubles nuke capacity: UN agency

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker, a U.N. report said on Thursday, showing Tehran continued to develop its nuclear programme despite Western pressure and the threat of an Israeli attack.

In the weeks and months when Israeli politicians increased their talk of air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, the Islamic Republic was rapidly increasing the enrichment capacity of its Fordow site, buried deep underground to withstand any such hit.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency also said in its quarterly report on Iran that buildings had been demolished and earth removed at a military site the IAEA wants to inspect, in what Western diplomats see as a determined effort by Tehran to remove any evidence of illicit nuclear-linked activity there.

These “extensive activities” at the Parchin complex, the Vienna-based U.N. agency added, would significantly hamper its investigation there, if and when inspectors were allowed access.

In another sign of Iranian stonewalling of the IAEA’s inquiry into suspected atom bomb research, it said “no concrete results” had been achieved in a series of high-profile meetings with Iranian officials this year aimed at allaying concern about the country’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran’s supreme leader repeated that Iran’s nuclear programme was entirely peaceful. “Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a developing nations summit in Tehran.


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