Iran’s nuclear facility at Natanz appears to be paving the way for sensitive facilities to increasingly go underground according to satellite photos analyzed by The New York Times.

Publication of the suspected findings is timed to coincide with Iran-Israel tensions and comes before US president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. This is important because there is a spotlight on Iran’s nuclear activities. This facility has been in the news in the past. In July, due to a mysterious explosion that apparently damaged key centrifuges housed in a warehouse and in 2002, when satellite photos also showed evidence of underground construction in the secretive facility.

This comes days after plans by Iran to install advanced centrifuges at Natanz were seen as worrying France, Germany and the UK. The images of the tunnels and the centrifuge story are connected and not a coincidence. Iran is telegraphing its plans and there are messages being sent to the incoming US administration.

The obvious question is, if Iran’s nuclear program is merely peaceful, then why does the country go to such lengths to hide it. Peaceful programs don’t require clandestine underground tunnels built on dirt roads that are supposed to appear inconspicuous but are actually key military industrial complex facilities. Iran has many such facilities and has shown off a ballistic missile mobile launcher on a train that can be moved from an underground facility at another location. It has hidden missile construction sites at Khojir and has also built underground sites at Imam Ali base in Syria, and aided Hezbollah in the same expertise. The regime has become expert at tunneling, helping the Houthis in Yemen to hide missile and drone construction.  

Read More: Jerusalem Post

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