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Iran's Nuclear Materials Move Underground

Iran has begun to move its nuclear materials underground and further away from possible attack, the IAEA warns.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 4:01 PM

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Iran has begun to move its nuclear materials underground, further away from possible attack by Western powers, a new report by the United Nations has warned.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report earlier this week that Iran began moving materials to an underground facility for the “pursuit of sensitive atomic activities.”

Last month Iranian nuclear scientists moved low-enriched uranium (LEU) in a “large cylinder” to the Fordow subterranean site. The information was included in the report, the IAEA's most detailed document yet.

The development further added to suspicions by Western intelligence agencies that Tehran is engaged in creating nuclear weapons of mass destruction – an activity that Israel has warned the world about for the past five years.

At least one prominent U.S.-based think tank has said that should Iran decide to enrich it further, it now has enough LEU to supply four nuclear weapons, and the international agency said in its report it had "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program."

The main finding in the IAEA report, leaked Tuesday, provided further evidence of Iran's military intentions: the Islamic Republic appears to have been working on designing a nuclear warhead, and it was clear that its weapons-related research was likely to continue.

"After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the agency finds the information to be, overall, credible," the report said. "This information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

Iran has threatened to strike Israel, the U.S. and Europe if its nuclear facilities are attacked.