The report of uranium traces found at a bunker indicate an enrichment in excess of that which is needed for electrical power production. The reports from Fox
, AP and CNN
indicate an enrichment level of at least 27%, which is still less than the 90% enrichment required for nuclear weapons, but is also a development above the 20% range which had been found in the past.
When questioned by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency,) Iran's response was;
production of such particles "above the target value" may happen for "technical reasons beyond the operator's control."
The analysis of the product was from samples obtained near the city of Qom at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant.
Coming on the heels of what is reportedly a massive clean-up effort at the Parchin military site
, the IAEA is apparently very concerned that Iran has repeatedly refused access to Parchin to verify the non-existence of nuclear weapons testing.
The test chamber reported by GulfNews
appear to be indicative of a plan by Tehran to, at a minimum, conduct nuclear weapons testing with mid-grade enriched uranium. The informant who provided the information used to create a computer generated drawing of the test chamber has not been identified, nor have many of the details, so as to protect the informant's identity.
The installation of two new enrichment
cascades above the already installed 15 units at the Fordow plant are reported by ISIS
(Institute for Science and International Security) as being the likely cause of the 27% enrichment level. The report by ISIS' David Albright, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond does however, make note of the increased breakout capability with the upgraded system in place (pg. 5 of the report). On page 6 of the ISIS report is the observation that the IR-40 reactor currently being constructed at Arak will, when completed, be able to produce weapons-grade uranium.
The bottom line in the investigations by the IAEA seem to be the suspicion that Iran has engaged in nuclear weapons research since at least 2002, and at this time there has been insufficient cooperation from Tehran to quiet those concerns.