Iranian scientists are working on nuclear warheads – and trying to perfect them – at an underground site unknown to the West, according to a high-ranking intelligence officer of the Islamic regime.
The site, approximately 14 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, consists of two facilities built deep into a mountain along with a missile facility that is surrounded by barbed wire, 45 security towers and several security posts.
The new secret nuclear site, named Quds (Jerusalem), is almost 15 miles from another site, previously secret but exposed in 2009, the Fordow nuclear facility. The power to this site comes from the same source as Fordow – the Shahid Rajaei power plant – with high power towers surrounding the site.
Construction of the site started about the same time as Fordow, and in the second half of 2010 all industrial tests were completed. The site became 60 percent operational in 2011.
Gen. Ahmad Vahid Dastjerdi, who works in the supreme leader’s office to protect the regime’s information and counterintelligence, manages the site. His deputy, Hojatolislam Ramezani, was appointed to the protection of intelligence at the Defense Ministry after several leaks about the country’s nuclear operations.
Quds, built about 375 feet under the mountain and accessible by two large entrances reinforced with concrete, has 12 emergency exit tunnels and spreads around the mountain.
The site has a capacity of 8,000 centrifuges and currently has three operational chambers with 19 cascades of 170 to 174 centrifuges enriching uranium. As of three months ago, the source said, there were 76 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium stock at the site and 48 kilograms of over 40 percent enriched uranium.
Though the regime has long succeeded in enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is 80 percent of the way to weapons grade, enriching to over 20 percent would be a clear sign of an intention of building a nuclear bomb.
One chamber is specifically allocated to laser enrichment research and development, and Iranian scientists have seen great progress, the source said.
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