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WASHINGTON – While Western countries attempt to get Iran to halt its nuclear uranium enrichment program, new indications are suggesting that the Islamic republic is embarked on an alternative method of processing plutonium to make, observers fear, a nuclear weapon, according to report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
In addition, satellite images of the facility where the plutonium processing is said to be taking place show it has an unusual array of anti-aircraft missile batteries to protect it, said to be more than is deployed around other known Iranian nuclear facilities.
The extent of defense emplacements, sources say, raises concerns over the activities at the site.
Sources say that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, have been barred for some 18 months from visiting the facility – identified as the Arak heavy-water production plant – where part of the processing is said to be taking place.
Sources say that overhead images show that the facility is in two parts – a heavy-water plant and a nuclear reactor.
This facility is located some 150 miles southwest of Tehran.
IAEA is allowed to make intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but, to date, according to sources, has not been allowed access to the heavy water plant but has been permitted next door to inspect the reactor, which is to begin operation in 2014.
Sources say that Western intelligence has no information that Iran has built a separation plant to reprocess the plutonium to fashion into a nuclear weapon.
Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is a member of the IAEA. As such, Iran can undertake certain enrichment as long as IAEA inspectors are permitted access to declared facilities. The Iranian leadership insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has enriched uranium up to 20 percent which is necessary for medical purposes.
Enrichment of 90 percent or better is weapons-grade uranium.
Iran is said to have thousands of centrifuges enriching uranium at another facility deep in the mountains, called Fordow. The Western countries insist that it be closed if there is to be any concessions on existing sanctions.
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