BERLIN — Inspectors from the UN’s atomic watchdog have confirmed Iran has started building an underground centrifuge assembly plant after its previous one exploded in what Tehran called a sabotage attack over the summer, the agency’s head tells The Associated Press.
Iran also continues to stockpile greater amounts of low-enriched uranium, but does not appear to possess enough to produce a weapon, Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, tells the AP in an interview in Berlin.
Following the July explosion at the Natanz nuclear site, Tehran said it would build a new, more secure, structure in the mountains around the area. Satellite pictures of Natanz analyzed by experts have yet to show any obvious signs of construction at the site in Iran’s central Isfahan province.
“They have started, but it’s not completed,” Grossi says. “It’s a long process.”
He will not give further details, saying it’s “confidential information.” Iran’s mission to the United Nations does not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Natanz hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. In its long underground halls, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium.