September 10th, 2010 (Geopoliticalmonitor.com) - An Iranian dissident group has alleged that Iran is building a secret uranium enrichment plant 120km away from Tehran.
US officials claim that they know of the site, but are unaware of any nuclear activities going on there.
These claims come at a time when the Iranian government is facing down a torrent of international criticism over sentencing a woman to death by stoning for adultery and refusing to release three American hikers who crossed the Iraq-Iran border last year.
If the dissident group’s allegations are true, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The Ahmadinejad regime has kept Iran estranged from the international community under the pretense that UN pressure and sanctions from nuclear powers are hypocritical. In the absence of economic benefits from global trade and investment, the government in Tehran will seek to play the nationalism card through producing a nuclear bomb at some point.
An editorial in the Washington Post points out that:
“[Since the latest round of sanctions] there has essentially been no change in Iran's steady accumulation of low-enriched uranium. Since last November, its stockpile has grown from 1,800 kilograms to 2,800 kilograms -- an increase of more than 50 percent. ”
“Tehran now has enough low-enriched uranium to produce two nuclear weapons with further enrichment. “
The Jerusalem post goes into detail on some of the more suspicious elements of the facility in question:
“On top of the tunnel, a mountain peak stands at a height of 100 meters. Nuclear experts said a height of 80 meters is needed to block detection through radioactive emissions, explained Jafarzadeh. The site is protected from aerial bombardment due to the mountain's location, he added.”
“The tunnel, with dimensions of eight meters at the width and 200 meters in length, goes deep underground to three large halls which were designed to hold centrifuge cascades, utilized in the process of uranium enrichment”