Tehran: Iran has begun uranium enrichment at a
new underground site well protected from possible airstrikes,
a leading hardline newspaper reported on Sunday.
Kayhan daily, which is close to Iran`s ruling clerics,
said Tehran has begun injecting uranium gas into sophisticated
centrifuges at the Fordo facility near the holy city of Qom.
Iran is under UN sanctions for refusing to stop uranium
enrichment, which can produce both nuclear fuel and fissile
warhead material, and other suspected activities that the
international community fears could be used to make atomic
Tehran says it only seeks reactors for energy and
research, and refuses to halt its uranium enrichment
"Kayhan received reports yesterday that show Iran has
begun uranium enrichment at the Fordo facility amid heightened
foreign enemy threats," the paper said in a front-page report.
Kayhan`s manager is a representative of Iran`s Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But Iran`s nuclear chief Fereidoun Abbasi said yesterday
that his country will "soon" begin enrichment at Fordo. It was
impossible to immediately reconcile the two reports.
Iran has a major uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in
central Iran where nearly 8,000 centrifuges are operating.
Tehran began enrichment at Natanz in April 2006.
The Fordo centrifuges however are reportedly more
efficient, and the site better shielded from aerial attack.
Built next to a military complex, Fordo was long kept secret
and was only acknowledged by Iran after it was identified by
Western intelligence agencies in September 2009.
Both the US and Israel have not ruled out a military
strike should Iran continue with its programme.