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Iran's Peculiar Decision to Fortify Nuke Site with Russian Missiles

Russian President Putin and Iranian President Rouhani (Photo: wikicommons/Hamed Malekpour)

Recently, Stand for Israel has told you of Iran's fortification of its secretive nuclear sites with Russian-made S-300 missiles. JNS' Sean Savage writes that such a move is both puzzling and problematic, as last year's nuclear deal supposedly prevents the Islamic Republic from nuclear development:

Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told it was very peculiar the Iranians put the S-300 system at Fordo, a site they’ve long claimed would be impenetrable to attack.

“As per the nuclear agreement, very little is being done at Fordo,” he said. “So you have to scratch your head and wonder why the heck they did this at Fordo instead of Natanz [uranium enrichment plant], where, after all, there are 5,060 centrifuges and where they are not underground.”

The Fordo nuclear site, located 60 miles south of Tehran and built 300 feet below a mountain, was initially built in secret by Iran until satellite imagery forced the Islamic Republic to acknowledge its existence in 2009. In 2011, Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, that it was planning to produce medium-enriched uranium, up to about 20 percent, at the site, which Western powers feared could be easily enriched into weapons-grade uranium.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium at the site for 15 years and its remaining 1,044 centrifuges allowed at the site will only by permitted for scientific research.

Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council think tank, told this move elevates suspicion over what Iran is doing at Fordo.

“This certainly raises questions over their transparency and what they are using the site for,” Berman said. “This move tells you this is an important strategic site for Iran and they have serious doubts that the military option [for the U.S. or Israel] is not off the table..."

Tags: Iran

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