Iran de­nies ex­plo­sion at un­der­ground ura­nium fa­cil­ity

The Kurdish Globe - - REGIONAL -

Iran has de­nied me­dia re­ports of a ma­jor ex­plo­sion at one of its ura­nium en­rich­ment sites, de­scrib­ing them as "West­ern pro­pa­ganda" de­signed to in­flu­ence up­com­ing nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Reuters has been un­able to ver­ify re­ports since Fri­day of an ex­plo­sion at the un­der­ground For­dow bunker, near the re­li­gious city of Qom, that some Is­raeli and West­ern me­dia have said caused sig­nif­i­cant dam­age.

Tehran has ac­cused Is­rael and the United States of be­ing be­hind cy­ber at­tacks and the as­sas­si­na­tion of its nu­clear sci­en­tists, aim­ing to sab­o­tage a nu­clear pro­gram which the West sus­pects hides an at­tempt to de­velop nu­clear weapons.

"The false news of an ex­plo­sion at For­dow is West­ern pro­pa­ganda ahead of nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions to in­flu­ence their process and out­come," state news agency IRNA quoted the deputy head of Iran's Atomic En­ergy Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Saeed Shamsed­din Bar Broudi, as say­ing late on Sun­day.

The IRNA report also quoted the head of par­lia­ment's na­tional se­cu­rity and for­eign af­fairs com­mit­tee, Alaed­din Borou­jerdi, strongly deny­ing there had been an ex­plo­sion.

The plant at For­dow in late 2011 be­gan pro­duc­ing ura­nium en­riched to 20 per­cent fis­sile pu­rity, com­pared with the 3.5 per­cent level needed for nu­clear en­ergy plants, and has been op­er­at­ing 700 cen­tri- fuges there since Jan­uary this year, ac­cord­ing to West­ern diplo­mats.

West­ern gov­ern­ments are con­cerned that high-grade en­rich­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards de­vel­op­ing a nu­clear weapons ca­pa­bil­ity.

Iran main­tains its nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties are en­tirely peace­ful and that it be­gan pro­duc­ing high-en­riched ura­nium that it was no longer able to ob­tain from abroad for med­i­cal use.

The two sides are set to re­sume ne­go­ti­a­tions in coming weeks but the talks have been be­set by de­lays and wran­gling over dates and lo­ca­tion.

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