World War 3 warning: Iran begins construction of new nuclear site – satellite images

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The satellite images, released on Wednesday, appear to show the site is undergoing excavation. The construction efforts at the Natanz nuclear facility comes after a plant located at the same site exploded in a reported sabotage attack last year.

Tehran confirmed it planned to build an underground advanced centrifuge assembly plant to replace the one that burnt to the ground.

Construction of a new or regraded road to the south of Natanz has taken place since August.

Analysts believe the route leads to a former firing range for security forces at the facility.

New satellite images taken this week shows the site has been cleared and construction equipment has been moved to the area.

Analysts from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies believe the site is undergoing excavation.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the institute who studies Iran’s nuclear program, said: “That road also goes into the mountains so it may be the fact that they’re digging some kind of structure that’s going to be out in front and that there’s going to be a tunnel in the mountains.

”Or maybe that they’re just going to bury it there.”

Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, said his inspectors were aware of the construction.

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He told Associated Press Iran had previously informed IAEA inspectors of the construction.

Mr Grossi said his team still have access to Iran’s sites despite the collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal signed with several world powers.

He said: “It means that they have started, but it’s not completed. It’s a long process.”

Last month Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the destroyed above-ground facility was being replaced with one “in the heart of the mountains around Natanz”.

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Last July, an explosion heavily damaged Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said the blast was caused by “sabotage”.

Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said: “Security investigations confirm this was sabotage and what is certain is that an explosion took place in Natanz.

“But how this explosion took place and with what materials … will be announced by security officials in due course.”

Iran said details of the cause of the incident would not be released due to “security concerns”.

The blast caused no causalities or radioactive pollution.

But officials said the fire caused significant disruption to the development of its advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

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