Israel’s defense minister warned on Tuesday that Iran is developing more advanced uranium centrifuges at new underground locations being built near its Natanz nuclear plant, offering data that appears to go beyond that provided by a U.N. monitor.
Uranium may be purified using centrifuges, which can be utilized for civilian purposes or for the production of bomb fuel. World powers hoping to revive a nuclear agreement with Tehran, which denies having military aspirations, are keeping a close eye on Iranian progress on this subject. The Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz claimed in a speech at Reichman University, just outside Tel Aviv, that Iran is working to finish the manufacture and installation of 1,000 extra advanced IR6 centrifuges in its nuclear facilities, including new subterranean sites adjoining Natanz.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated in a report released on March 3 that Iran has installed or planned to build a total of three IR6 cascades, equal to around 660 units. Last month, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi revealed that Iran has set up a new underground Natanz facility for the production of centrifuge parts as an apparent defense against an assault.
While speaking, Gantz made reference to Israel’s longstanding threat to use military force if diplomacy fails to prevent its arch-enemy from obtaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons. Stronger discussions between international powers may “avoid or decrease the cost of such a future war,” which he hoped would never happen.
The head of Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ram Ben-Barak, confirmed Tuesday’s Israeli media reports that Israel’s air force will be simulating an attack on Iran as part of a one-month military exercise. Ben-Barak told Reshet Bet Radio that “this exercise was planned long ago.” In the meantime, we’re preparing for the worst while praying for the best.