James Forsyth

Iran’s secret nuclear plant

Iran's secret nuclear plant
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With the recession and Afghanistan, Iran often drops off the new agenda but the nuclear issue hasn’t gone away. The Washington Post’s article today about the recently revealed nuclear facility at Qom shows that the plant was almost certainly part of a nuclear weapons programme.

The paper reports that communication intercepts revealed that Iran only planned to place 3,000 centrifuges in the plant. It would take that number of centrifuges twenty years to produce enough low-enriched uranium for a civilian power plant. But 3,000 centrifuges would produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two to three bombs a year.  

Qom is due to be inspected by UN inspectors on Sunday and now that its existence is know it is highly unlikely that the Iranians would continue to use it for military purposes. However, the existence of the Qom plant indicates that there are probably other secret facilities elsewhere in Iran. Any attempt to stop Iran’s clandestine nuclear programme will require knowing where those facilities are. 

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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