Iran has begun transferring centrifuges to its new underground nuclear plant site near Qum, the country’s state-run television station reported Monday.”The site is being made ready and a series of centrifuges have already been transferred,” Fereydoun Abbasi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy organisation told the station. “We aren’t rushing and we seek to observe technical standards.”
Abbasi did not specify how many centrifuges have been transferred so far, although the government has previously said it plans to transfer 20% of its uranium-enrichment manufacturing to the new site. The transfer will boost the country’s production capacity by threefold, according to the Global Security Newswire.
The AP reports that the new nuclear complex, located south of Tehran, is built into a rocky formation in order to withstand potential strikes on the facility.
Iran’s ramped up efforts to enrich uranium — which makes up the core of a nuclear bomb — is the focus of U.S. concerns over the country’s nuclear program. Iran insists its intentions are non-military.
The reports are “troubling” for the U.S. and the international community, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters today.
“The Iranian nuclear program offers no plausible reason for its existing enrichment of uranium up to nearly 20 per cent, nor ramping up this production, nor moving centrifuges underground,” Nuland said. “And its failure to comply with its obligations to suspend its enrichment activities…have given all of us in the international community reason to doubt its intentions.”