centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
Centrifuges in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
Photo: AP
Centrifuges in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran

Iran building new centrifuges site near Natanz

Tehran seeking to replace facility hit by fire earlier this year, says blaze was result of sabotage and caused significant damage that could slow development of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges

Reuters |
Published: 09.08.20 , 18:36
Iran has begun to build a hall in "the heart of the mountains" near its Natanz nuclear site for making advanced centrifuges, Iran's nuclear chief said on Tuesday, aiming to replace a production hall at the facility hit by fire in July.
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  • Iran said at the time that the fire was the result of sabotage and had caused significant damage that could slow the development of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.
    centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Irancentrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
    Centrifuges in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran
    (Photo: AP)
    "Due to the sabotage, it was decided to build a more modern, larger and more comprehensive hall in all dimensions in the heart of the mountain near Natanz. Of course, the work has begun," said Ali Akbar Salehi, according to state TV.
    Natanz is the centerpiece of Iran's enrichment program, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes. Western intelligence agencies and the UN's nuclear watchdog (IAEA) believe Iran had a coordinated, clandestine nuclear arms program that it halted in 2003. Tehran denies ever seeking nuclear weapons.
    The Natanz uranium-enrichment site, much of which is underground, is one of several Iranian facilities monitored by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear watchdog.
    An IAEA inspector at the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran An IAEA inspector at the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran
    An IAEA inspector at the Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran
    (Photo: AP)
    A confrontation between arch-foes Tehran and Washington has worsened since 2018 when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.
    Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions. In reaction to U.S. sanctions, Tehran has gradually distanced itself from the nuclear pact.
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