Report: Iran Expands Fordow Nuclear Facility, Tripling Enrichment Capacity

By Hamodia Staff

This 2020 file satellite photo by Maxar Technologies shows Iran’s Fordo nuclear site. (Maxar Technologies via AP, File)

According to confidential reports and analysis from nuclear experts cited by The Washington Post, Iran is significantly expanding its heavily fortified Fordow nuclear facility. This expansion could potentially triple Fordow’s capacity to produce enriched uranium, providing Tehran with the means to rapidly assemble nuclear weapons if it chooses to pursue that path.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have verified new construction activities at Fordow, just days after Iran formally notified the nuclear watchdog about its plans to upgrade the underground site located in north-central Iran’s mountainous region.

The Post’s report, based on a technical evaluation, indicates that the Fordow expansion alone could enable Iran to stockpile enough nuclear fuel for several bombs each month. Although smaller than Iran’s main enrichment facility near Natanz, Fordow’s underground location makes it virtually impervious to airstrikes, increasing its strategic significance.

“Iran would gain the capability for a rapid breakout at this deeply buried site, an ability it has not possessed before,” said David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based nonprofit.

Iran has also disclosed intentions to boost production at its primary enrichment plant near Natanz. These moves are expected to exacerbate tensions with Western nations and fuel concerns that Tehran is positioning itself as a nuclear threshold state, capable of producing nuclear weapons on short notice if its leaders give the order.

“Iran aims to keep expanding its nuclear program in ways that lack any credible peaceful justification,” said State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “These planned actions further undermine Iran’s claims to the contrary. If Iran proceeds with these plans, we will respond accordingly.”

U.S. intelligence officials report that Iran already possesses around 300 pounds of highly enriched uranium, which could potentially be further processed into weapons-grade fuel for nuclear bombs within weeks or even days. While Iran maintains it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons, leaders of its nuclear energy program have begun publicly asserting that their scientists now command all necessary components and expertise to build nuclear bombs swiftly if instructed to do so.

The expansion blueprint includes installing nearly 1,400 new centrifuges at Fordow within four weeks, according to two European diplomats with knowledge of the confidential IAEA reports. This new Iranian-made equipment, interconnected in eight cascades, would significantly outperform the machines currently deployed.

“It is entirely credible,” Albright told The Post, referring to Iran’s expansion plans. “We have no insight into their centrifuge activities. We’ll only fully grasp their capability after they’ve installed these machines.”

Although the 2015 nuclear deal technically remains in force, Iran has systematically violated its key provisions since the Trump administration withdrew from the agreement in 2018. According to Robert Litwak, a senior vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Tehran’s efforts to portray itself as a nuclear threshold power provide Iran with a degree of strategic ambiguity that serves its interests.

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