Iran announced on Monday that it plans to start constructing two new uranium enrichment sites next month. Head of the country's atomic energy organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, refused to say where the facilities would be built, but noted that they will be located in the heart of the mountains so that they will not be vulnerable to attack.
In an interview with Iranian news agency, ISNA, Salehi said that construction would start following the Iranian new year, celebrated on March 21. "We will likely start building two new enrichment facilities, in accordance with the president's orders," said the head of the nuclear program as he referred to the decision handed down by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"From now on, our enrichment facilities will not be open and will be built in the side of the mountain," said Salehi, "so that they will be protected from all manner of attacks."
Iran already expressed its concern in the past that the Israeli Air Force would try to attack its nuclear sites.
"We plan on using new centrifuges in these two new sites," noted Salehi. The senior official said that each one of the sites will have similar production capacity as the Natanz facility, where thousands of centrifuges are in operation every day. He added that Ahmadinejad will announce next month which type of new centrifuges will be used at the facilities.
20 suitable sites locatedThe Iranian government drew harsh criticism last week after announcing that it will build ten new uranium enrichment facilities within the upcoming year. Salehi noted that 20 locations have been scouted that could be suitable for the new nuclear sites.
The Islamic Republic's grandiose plans have evoked deep concern among the Western powers that are promoting sanctions against the country in the UN Security Council.
Western ire mounted after the International Atomic Energy Agency's publication of their most recent report that established that Iran is indeed developing nuclear weapons.
Germany said in response that the Iranian defiance of the IAEA forces the world to impose sanctions.
"Tehran's obstinance to continue its dangerous nuclear policy pushes the international community to promote all-encompassing sanctions against Tehran in New York," said the government in Berlin. France and Russia also came out against Iran, saying that their lack of cooperation with world powers is worrisome.