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Diplomat warns 'Iran poised for major nuke program expansion at underground site'

February 19, 2012 - Tehran

A Vienna-based diplomat has warmed that Iran is planning to expand its nuclear programme at a fortified underground plant.

The diplomat revealed that the country is apparently ready to install thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the underground plant near the city of Qom.

They could speed up the production of enriched uranium, required for both power generation and nuclear weapons, the diplomat said.

According to The BBC, other diplomats have also revealed that the Qom facility now contains the electrical circuitry, piping and supporting equipment required for the new centrifuges, though they added that the centrifuges have not yet been fitted and there is no certainty about if and when they will be.

The developments come against the backdrop of rising tensions over the issue, following a report by the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA in November that claimed that Iran had 'carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device'.

Meanwhile, IAEA inspectors are due to visit Tehran this week for another round of talks on Iran's nuclear activities.

On a visit last month, inspectors were denied access to certain nuclear sites and scientists in the country.

Iran has maintained that its nuclear work is for purely peaceful purposes, but Western countries express fears that Iran is secretly trying to develop a nuclear bomb.


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