Footage of Iranian facility suggests underground nuclear site protected from airstrikes
Experts examining satellite images said in a report on Tuesday that Iran is believed to be building a nuclear facility so deep underground that even the most powerful US-made weapons may not be able to destroy it.
The report, published by the Associated press (AP), spoke with several nuclear experts and analyzed satellite images to reach his conclusions. A major clue to the nature of the new facility, believed to be located in the Zagros Mountains of central Iran near the existing Natanz nuclear site, is the heavy construction of tunnels leading deep beneath a feature known as from Pickaxe Mountain.
Satellite images reveal at least four large tunnel entrances leading under the mountain, each at least 20 feet wide and 26 feet high. The size of the piles of earth near these tunnels has led AP analysts to conclude that a large facility is being dug at least 260 feet underground and possibly even deeper depending on the progress of construction. construction.
Judging by the size of the tunnel entrances and the distance between them, the facility appears large enough to hold the cascades of centrifuges Iran would need to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. It is buried deep enough to protect it even against the enormous GBU-57 bomb, a weapon designed by the United States to destroy bunkers and nuclear installations up to 200 feet underground.
Iran has acknowledged that it is building an underground nuclear facility in the region to replace the uranium centrifuge plant at Natanz which was damaged by a mysterious explosion and fire in July 2020.
Iranian officials initially played down the extent of the damage, at one point suggesting the fire started in a mere “industrial shed”, but later admitted that production of advanced centrifuges would be significantly “delayed “.
Iran claims the Natanz underground facility was sabotaged in April 2021, damaging its uranium centrifuges. Iran blamed the sabotage on Israeli agents.
Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi quickly replied to the AP report, saying on Tuesday that he was not surprised by Iran’s new construction plan – and not at all convinced that the buried facility would be safe from attack.
“What can be said about this is that there is no inaccessible place,” Hanegbi told a security conference near Tel Aviv.
“We hope we don’t get to a situation where the solution to Iran’s nuclear weapon story is a kinetic solution, a solution involving an attack,” he added.
“There are possible negative developments on the horizon and this may lead to action. We have capabilities. Others have capabilities, and this is a very significant and important issue,” the military commander said. Israeli Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, who spoke at the same conference.